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New Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Says Russia Remains 'Major Partner'

Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Ruslan Kazakbaev
Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Ruslan Kazakbaev

Kyrgyzstan's newly appointed Foreign Minister Ruslan Kazakbaev says that the recent political upheaval that toppled the Central Asian nation's government and prompted the president to resign won't impact relations with Russia, its "major partner and ally."

Speaking in Moscow after holding talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on October 23, Kazakbaev told reporters that the new government will continue to "support close contacts on all levels and strengthen political dialogue" with Russia.

"We confirm our commitment to further strengthening of the traditions of friendship, mutual respect, and trust between our nations, our common move towards widening of the allied ties, and... strategic partnership between the Kyrgyz Republic and the Russian Federation," Kazakbaev said during his first trip since he took the post as the country's top diplomat on October 15.

Kyrgyzstan has seen weeks of chaos after allegations of vote-buying and other improprieties marred October 4 parliamentary elections.

Mass protests over the results, which handed victory mainly to parties aligned with President Sooronbai Jeebekov's government, ousted the cabinet and led to Jeenbekov's resignation.

Sadyr Japarov has since been approved by parliament as prime minister. He also took over the powers of the president when the seat became vacant.

Kazakbaev said that efforts to eradicate corruption among officials in Kyrgyzstan is one of the main tasks of the new government, adding that those suspected of being involved in graft are being weeded out.

The dramatic developments in Kyrgyzstan have been closely watched by Russia, which maintains a military base in the former Soviet republic.

Lavrov said he and Kazakbaev had discussed "all aspects of our bilateral cooperation" and "confirmed our readiness to support the political dialogue, deepening, and strengthening of our bilateral trade and economic cooperation, and the widening of the inter-regional collaboration."

The election results were annulled and new parliamentary and presidential votes are expected to be held in early 2021.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on October 22 called the developments in Kyrgyzstan “unfortunate," adding that Russia had done "a lot" to keep Kyrgyzstan stable, referring to hundreds of millions of dollars invested in the country and the hiring of Kyrgyz migrant workers in Russia.

With reporting by Interfax and TASS
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