Kyrgyzstan is on the brink of civil war and threatens to become a “second Afghanistan”, according to Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev.
“As I understand it, Kyrgyzstan is on the verge of civil war,” Mr Medvedev told an audience at a think tank in Washington, US, where he was attending the global nuclear security summit. He said there was a real risk Kyrgyzstan could split in two. The warning came amid persisting tensions since an uprising last week that ousted Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and installed an interim government. “Our task is to help the Kyrgyz people find a calm way out of this crisis,” Mr Medvedev said. He suggested Mr Bakiyev should formally step down to defuse a crisis he said could develop into a “second Afghanistan”. “Certain political figures should take responsible decisions,” Mr Medvedev said in his remarks at the Brookings Institution. Since fleeing the Kyrgyz capital after troops fired on demonstrators in the uprising that brought his opponents to power, Mr Bakiyev had warned of a bloodbath. He initially refused to resign and tried to rally followers in his southern stronghold. But he has now said he might quit if the interim government guaranteed his safety and calmed the turmoil following the revolt against his five-year rule in the central Asian nation.
The country plays host to a US air base which is key to the war in Afghanistan. The self-proclaimed government headed by Roza Otunbayeva has said Russia is its key ally, casting doubts over the future of the Manas base – long a subject of Moscow objections. But Mr Medvedev also suggested Russia was not behind any plot to oust the US base. “When I met with President Bakiyev, I always told him it is necessary to help our American partners in solving problems in Afghanistan – the question is how to give this help, how effective it is,” the Russian president said.