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Kyrgyzstan Says It's Wrong To Blame One Side In Ethnic Clashes

Ethnic Uzbeks fleeing from ethnic clashes in the Kyrgyz city of Osh in June last year.
BISHKEK -- The Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry says it is wrong to define any of the parties involved in last year's deadly ethnic conflict in southern Kyrgyzstan as wholly "guilty" or "victimized," RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The ministry was officially responding to a report released on May 3 by an independent international commission on the June clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in the Osh and Jalal-Abad regions.

The report by the Kyrgyzstan Inquiry Commission (KIC) is critical of the Kyrgyz government and mainly blames ethnic Kyrgyz for the violence in which nearly 500 people were killed.

It did not find any signs of genocide but said some acts in the conflict could be classified as crimes against humanity.

The Kyrgyz government said the ethnic clashes were "tragic events that have a very deep historical, social, economic, and political background."

In a press release issued today by the Foreign Ministry, the Kyrgyz government stated that the ethnic conflict "was provoked in the conditions of a very complicated...situation in the country that was used by the supporters of the former regime [of President Kurmanbek Bakiev], which aimed to regain the power it lost on April 7, 2010."

The government agrees with the commission's conclusion that the June events cannot be classified as genocide or armed conflict, but states that the commission did not provide enough evidence that some violent acts in the city of Osh could possibly be considered crimes against humanity.

The Kyrgyz government said it is doing all it can to minimize the consequences of the unrest and to prevent such events from recurring. It said it will establish a special state commission to implement the international commission's recommendations and those of other groups that conducted investigations.

The government added that it agrees that special attention should be paid to alleged human rights abuses against ethnic Uzbeks and others reported by rights activists in the aftermath of the conflict.

The commission said that 74 percent of those who died in the unrest from June 10 to 14 last year were ethnic Uzbeks. Nearly 500 people were killed in the violence and more than 2,000 people were seriously injured. Many homes and commercial buildings were also destroyed at an estimated cost of $700 million.

Read more in Kyrgyz here and in Russian here