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    Post Self-proclaimed Kyrgyz leader thanks Russia

    Self-proclaimed Kyrgyz leader thanks Russia - washingtonpost.com

    MOSCOW (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan's self-proclaimed interim leader thanked Russia on Thursday for its "significant support" in exposing what she said was the nepotistic and criminal regime of President Kurbanbek Bakiyev.

    Separately, a senior Russian official said Bakiyev had not fulfilled a promise to close a U.S. base in Kyrgyzstan and Moscow would advise the new government there should be only one military base in the former Soviet state, a Russian one.

    Kyrgyz opposition leader Roza Otunbayeva spoke to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin by telephone soon after declaring she had had taken power in Kyrgyzstan and that Bakiyev was holed up in the south of the country after fleeing mass protests.

    Otunbayeva said Putin had asked how Russia could help. "We agreed that my first deputy and the republic's former prime minister, Almaz Atambayev, would fly to Moscow and we would formulate our needs," Otunbayeva told Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy on Thursday in an interview monitored by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

    Putin was the first world leader to recognize Otunbayeva as leader of Kyrgyzstan. "It is important that the conversation was held with her in her role as the head of the government of national confidence," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

    The United States said on Thursday that it had not decided about the legitimacy of Otunbayeva's government. Its air base in Kyrgyzstan supports NATO operations in Afghanistan.

    The Pentagon said there were limited operations at the airbase, despite the unrest, and support to Afghanistan had not been seriously affected.

    Putin earlier denied Moscow had played a hand in the clashes and Otunbayeva said the new government would allow the U.S. base in the Kyrgyz city of Manas to continue to operate, while adding that "some questions" over it would be resolved.

    Speaking in Prague hours after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama signed a treaty there cutting their nuclear arsenals, a senior Russian official indicated the U.S. base at Manas should close.

    "In Kyrgyzstan there should be only one base -- Russian," the official told reporters in Prague on condition of anonymity,

    Bakiyev announced the base would close during a visit to Moscow last year at which he also secured $2 billion in crisis aid, only to agree later to keep the base open at a higher rent.

    Bakiyev, also speaking to Ekho Moskvy, accused his opponents of an armed seizure of power and said unidentified foreign forces were likely to have been involved in the unrest, although he refused to name any country.

    Bakiyev refused to step down and said he was in southern Kyrgyzstan, but gave no specifics and acknowledged he had little influence over events.

    Otunbayeva said the situation in the Kyrgyz economy was "fairly alarming" and the country would need foreign aid.

    "We are grateful to the Russian Federation, grateful to the Russian prime minister, for the support, significant support from the Russian Federation in recent days in exposing this nepotistic, criminal regime," she said.

    Otunbayeva said Putin had not promised any specific sum of money. "But the fact that he called, spoke nicely, went into the detail, asked about details -- generally, I was moved by that. It is a signal."
    Ultima modifica di Eric Draven; 10-04-10 alle 00:29

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