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OSCE Police Head Says 'Kyrgyzstan Is Not Kosovo'

The head of the OSCE police advisory mission in Kyrgyzstan, Markus Mueller
The head of the OSCE police advisory mission in Kyrgyzstan, Markus Mueller
BISHKEK -- The head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) police advisory mission in southern Kyrgyzstan says it is inappropriate to compare the mission in Kyrgyzstan with the one in Kosovo, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Markus Mueller told RFE/RL on June 28 that a few of the 22 OSCE unarmed police advisers deployed to southern Kyrgyzstan at the invitation of the Kyrgyz authorities previously worked in Kosovo.

But he said some political forces and groups deliberately play up that linkage with Kosovo in an attempt to politicize the entire OSCE mission.

Mueller said he is pleased with the interest shown by the Kyrgyz parliament in the police advisers' work. He said the advisers were welcomed by the local police and the public.

Mueller said the OSCE mission has opened several community centers which cooperate with youth and women's organizations as well as with local police on strengthening public safety and regional police capabilities.

He said he believes the advisers' work will have a positive effect on the ongoing reform of Kyrgyz police forces.

Mueller said the mission is due to expire on December 31, after which the OSCE and the Kyrgyz leadership will jointly analyze the results and decide whether or not it should be extended.

He said the project is funded by the EU and OSCE member states, the major donors being the United States, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, Germany, France, Liechtenstein, and Andorra. He said Kyrgyzstan is not financially involved in the project.

Kyrgyzstan and the OSCE agreed on the unarmed "police advisory group" -- a scaled-down version of their initial proposals -- following the June 2010 clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in the southern regions of Osh and Jalalabad, which left more than 400 dead and thousands homeless.

That agreement triggered initial protests from some parliamentarians, politicians, and members of the public, many of whom said the OSCE mission was designed to help establish an autonomous entity in Kyrgyzstan similar to what they say happened with Kosovo in Serbia.

Mueller, who is Swiss, headed the OSCE Center in Bishkek from 2003-2008.