UN Chief calls for calm as death toll in Kyrzyg clashes rises to 39 (now up to 45 and counting...)
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Friday for a halt to the violence in Kyrgyzstan, where a new wave of unrest has broken out, his spokesman said. A state of emergency has been declared in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, where the latest reports say the death toll from riots in the has risen to 39, with more than 600 injured, according to Kyrgyz news agency Kabar.
...In the statement, Ban reiterated "the need to respect the rule of law and to resolve issues peacefully through dialogue," calling on Kyrgyzstan's interim government to "pay particular attention to inter-ethnic relations in the country."...Riots broke out in the country's second largest city on Thursday night, reportedly after a fight between locals and members of the city's Uzbek population. Groups of youths rampaged through the city, setting fire to cars and buildings and breaking shop windows. Unrest spread across the city and its surrounding region.
Reports from Kyrgystan:
Deputy Interim Leader Azimbek Beknazarov calls it interethnic conflict, same story as Ban Ki-moon. He also says it is "clearly directed." They are finding bodies of people dead from gunshot wounds. Says the violence is being "managed by somebody."
“The unrest in the “south capital” of Kyrgyzstan has well defined interethnic character and is clearly directed”, stated the Deputy Interim Leader, Curator of force structure Azimbek Beknazarov, who is in Osh city at the moment. ... According to him, “everything began yesterday, 10 June, at about 11 p.m., and, unfortunately, despite the curfew established, at present skirmishing is going on in the city”. According to Azimbek Beknazarov, “officers of militia and special divisions of the Ministry of Defense, internal troops, patrolling the city streets, are finding bodies of the killed people with gunshot wounds”. “We are trying to establish full control, however it is clear that the continuing local shootings and attempts to fire buildings, shops, cars are being directed and managed by somebody”, noted the Kyrgyz Interim representative.
Deputy Minister Melis Turganbaev says the unrest could have been planned in advance
Mass disorders in Osh city (Kyrgyzstan) started from a fight of young people in one of game clubs at about 11 p.m. local time. Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of KR for south region Melis Turganbaev told the NA 24.kg. According to him, the unrest could have been planned in advance. But at the moment the forces of law and order are controlling the situation. Subdivisions of force structures, including militaries of the State Frontier Service and internal troops, armor have been brought to the city. A curfew has been imposed in Osh. The city is blocked.
The interim government is meeting behind closed doors
The interim government of Kyrgyzstan and civil society are holding panel discussion of situation on the south behind closed doors. Reportedly, the meeting for discussing ethnic issues was planned two weeks ago but agenda has been changed because of unrests in Osh. After speech of interim president KR representatives of non-governmental organizations asked the press to leave.
Five arrested suspected of instigating clashes
The Kyrgyz Ministry of Internal Affairs informs that five persons have been detained on suspicion in implication to arrangement unrests in Osh city....However the Deputy Kyrgyz Interim Leader Azimbek Beknazarov, who is in the epicenter of the tragic events at the moment, informed that the number of the killed counted to 7 and of injured – to 50.
People throw stones at helicopter carrying interim officials
Osh people tried to throw stones at helicopter with members of the interim government on board. Interim president Roza Otunbaeva said at panel discussion of the situation on the south. She said that members of the interim government were met by aggressive young people, some of them were drunk. “They must be stopped”, she said.She noted that interim government members tried to calm people but “they didn’t meet understanding”. “These people threw stones at helicopter”, she said.
NATO Special Envoy Robert Simmons and Roza Otunbayeva talk
NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia Robert F. Simmons and the President of transition period of Kyrgyzstan Roza Otunbayeva discussed Public Security Issues. Reportedly, Ms. Otunbayeva reported about the reasons of April events, current socio-political situation, socioeconomic status in the country, as well as she told about measures on preparation for the upcoming referendum and parliament elections.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kyrgyzstan (MIA KR) has announced the list of former officials, for whose capture the new authorities promised remuneration. It has been stated on Wednesday at the press conference in the MIA KR. As informed by the Head of the Main Criminal Investigation Department of MIA KR, Colonel Samat Bakeev, the new authorities are ready to pay $100,000 for capture or information about location of each adult member of former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s family. Among them are brothers of the fugitive president and his sons. The new authorities are ready to pay the same amount of money for Aleksey Shirshov, Aleksey Eliseev, Eugene Gurevich and Ex-Prime-Minister Daniyar Usenov. For capture or information about location of former Head of the State National Security Service Murat Sutalinov the remuneration will be $50,000. Ex-Chief of the President’s Administration Kurmanbek Temirbaev and a number of other officials are appraised at $20,000. After the change of power in Kyrgyzstan, 36 high officials have been put in the interstate and international wanted list in the line of CIS and Interpol. 25 of them are wanted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 9 – by the Financial Police Service and 2 – by the State National Security Service.
“Destabilization of situation in the south of Kyrgyzstan is beneficial for external players”, politologist-theologian Orozbek Moldaliev stated to the NA 24.kg. According to him, there is an element of truth in the information, which has recently appeared in Internet, about certain global conspiracy being prepared by big countries against Kyrgyzstan with the purpose of stirring up a civil war in the state and then dividing the republic into two parts. “For local political aces there is no need in shaking the boat at the moment. The referendum and the elections are ahead. So everybody is getting prepared to fight for power within the field, defined by pre-election campaign. But for external players – it is quite beneficial. If a serious conflict bursts out, the Collective Security Treaty Organization countries will bring troops into Kyrgyzstan, and after soldiers there will appear external management”, considers Orozbek Moldaliev.
Interim government says situation is complicated, brings in reinforcements
The Interim Government of Kyrgyzstan has taken a decision to bring additional units of force structures to Osh, the Deputy Interim Leader Omurbek Tekebaev, who arrived at the “south capital”, informed the News Agency 24.kg (information as of 9.40 a.m.). According to him, in Osh there are still several local hearths, where clashes are carrying on. “In separate districts of the city people are gathering and intend to unite and defend from possible threats of assaults and arsons”, informs Omurbek Tekebaev. Note of the NA 24.kg: Units of the Ministries of Defense, Internal Affairs, Internal troops and secret services have already been brought to the “south capital” today morning. Omurbek Tekebaev noted that the situation is complicated, however he expresses confidence that “the Interim Government and force structures will be able to take the situation in Osh under full control”.
Report from the BBC:
Zoya, an ethnic Russian, describes ongoing gunfire and roadblocks in the Uzbek neighbourhood where she lives. "We were woken up by gunfire around midnight. When I left the house in the morning I saw about a dozen helicopters flying over our neighbourhood. The street leading to our neighbourhood had been blocked with a barbed wire, stones and big tree branches. A few men from our street went to that roadblock, I guess to guard it. I heard such roadblocks stand on many roads leading to Uzbek neighbourhoods. We keep hearing sporadic gunfire. The men are still at the roadblock armed with sticks, some of which have a knife tied to the top. Many people, including children, are outside discussing the events. Children are playing.
I am afraid that if they keep telling us from TV screens that it's an ethnically - based clash, people will start believing it and react accordingly ~ ZoyaI don't think ethnic tension is behind the clashes. I talked to my Uzbek neighbour this morning and she too doesn't think they are purely ethnic. We also have a Kyrgyz family living on our street and no-one has ever had a hostile attitude towards them. We think that the clashes were provoked by the supporters of the former President Bakiyev in order to destabilise the situation before the referendum.
Around two weeks ago, the Kyrgyz national TV broadcast a recorded conversation between Bakiyev's son and his uncle - the former president's older brother. The conversation was about stirring unrest before the referendum on 27 June. I believe today's situation and that conversation are connected. I think the organisers of the clashes - and I think such events can't happen without a well prepared plan - had planned to have an ethnic tinge in order to provoke even greater violence. I am of the strong opinion that it is a provocation. I am afraid that if they keep telling us from TV screens that's an ethnically - based clash, people will start believing it and react accordingly."
The violence broke out Thursday late at night.
EARLIER THAT DAY, NATO representative Robert Simmons arrived in Bishkek. (google translation)
On Thursday in Bishkek, arrived Special Representative of NATO in Central Asia and Caucasus Robert Simmons. This is his third visit to Kyrgyzstan over the past five years. According to experts, Simmons came to "save" Manas ".
NATO Special Representative Robert Simmons appears in Kyrgyzstan in the moments when the Manas Airbase, for a year called a center of transit transport facing the greatest danger. Earlier, the diplomat arrived in Bishkek in May 2005. It was in those days, the fate of database [base? - ed.] caused problems in connection with the change of power occurred as a result of the March Revolution. Another visit to the U.S. general made February 2, 2009 - a fortnight before the former president of Kyrgyzstan Kurmanbek Bakiyev announced plans to eliminate the base. Surely this time the main topic of talks, held behind closed doors, was the continued presence of the Centre of transit for the antiterrorist coalition forces fighting in Afghanistan.
While in Bishkek, he met with the head of an interim government Rosa Otunbayeva, as well as acting Finance Minister Temir Sariev responsible for the content of the public treasury. Given that the most serious financial flows NATO Kyrgyzstan pass through the center of transit, the version that the "basic issue" was the principal receives additional confirmation. Parties have something to talk about - in fact one of the reasons for the change of power in Kyrgyzstan, several experts called the dissatisfaction of Moscow that Bakiev has not fulfilled promises to bring the base of the country. Now Simmons has to understand, as can happen in the future fate of the military facility, located 30 km from the Kyrgyz capital.
So Simmons arrives to offer money so that NATO may continue to use Manas, and that very night "intraethnic tensions" flare between the Kyrzyg and Uzbek people, WHICH COULD JUSTIFY bringing troops into Kyrzygstan to "stabilize" the country.
Also yesterday, this piece, called US Base Bargaining, was published.
And speaking of Kazakhstan, just so you know where they come down on things, this headline kind of says it all:10/06-2010 14:21, Bishkek – News Agency “24.kg”, By Daniyar KARIMOVBishkek hurt Washington’s reputation by sound jobbery scandal around US Transit Center at the Kyrgyz airport “Manas”. However, US “knockout” can appear to be deceptive…
Pentagon has stopped refueling aircrafts in Manas Transit Center in response to big stink. US military was accused of aiding and abetting corruption and was demanded to reconsider jet fuel contracts immediately. Official Bishkek has a suspicion that fuel money can be used for inciting situation across the country.
Fuel supply to Manas Transit Center had become focus of attention of Kyrgyz law enforcement body since power had been changed in Kyrgyzstan. There is a belief that jet fuel business is very profitable and it is no wonder that families of former presidents of Kyrgyzstan fed at it.
Jet fuel for Manas Transit Center was supplied by foreign companies who were the final point in the chain created during Askar Akaev era. Kyrgyz resellers sold them Russian fuel bought by privilege prices. Russian fuel, as unofficial channels inform, was supplied only for needs of Kyrgyzstan but milieus of former presidents gained $1 billion through fuel transactions and this amount of money was lost on a way to the treasury.
One month to go before upheavals Kremlin officially sounded suspicions that Bishkek sold Russian fuel to third party, a geopolitical rival of Moscow. However, previous government of Kyrgyzstan declared that they are not aware of fuel reselling while new government has revealed hard-hitting facts and rising spout of debate touched US Congress forcing to start investigation.
Washington sent several high-ranking envoys to Bishkek and no one admitted that issues of US base were discussed at meetings with the interim government. Recent after USA and Kyrgyzstan unexpectedly stated agreement about Transit Center and Americans have made pre-schedule transferring of $15 million for first quarter of lease. However, major question of fuel supply bringing $ 200 thousand annually for Kyrgyzstan is still open. According to US officials the question of fuel supply is under consideration. Meanwhile Bishkek is ready to suggest Pentagon alternative variants of supply though it is unclear which ones. The one thing is clear Bishkek is not going to cut fuel prices. US base continues operating to help in “war against world terror” while major question of political background of scandal remains without answer.
US base became object of bargaining between Bishkek and Washington many times. The question of base closing is being debated permanently as favorite topic of local politicians. So, this is not a surprise that the interim government had tried to take advantage of the base.
Debates about reconsideration character of cooperation with USA had started after April events. Deputy Head of the interim government Almazbek Atambaev accused Washington of sustaining “corrupted regime”. Law and enforcement agencies started investigation for confirming statement of high-ranking official. To find facts of using “fuel schemes” was an easy case as it was well known but security officials preferred to turn blind eye to them. Selective tactics of the interim government shifted the base topic from political level and USA harried to take advantage of that.
“We have been given assurances by the new leadership in Kyrgyzstan that the United States will retain access to the Manas air base,” US Secretary of State Clinton said. She noted that Washington had discussed the issue with Russia because Moscow has allowed the Pentagon to transport materials and troops destined for Afghanistan across Russian airspace. However, her statement doesn’t mean success of US diplomacy. The interim government of Kyrgyzstan in spite of anti-bribery declamation and making a good leg to Russia wasn’t able to consider closing US base in the country as Kyrgyzstan must inform American about base closing within 6 months prior to end of the agreement. The time is up on March – before power change. Besides, the interim government being not legitimate doesn’t have rights to solve the problem of US base. USA mentioned this fact saying that they will leave if people of Kyrgyzstan will insist on that.
What is next?
Obviously, USA understands instability of their military presence in Kyrgyzstan. Maybe this is a reason why west experts consider Kyrgyz anti-bribery campaign as leverage for rent increase of Manas Transit Center.
Today the only legitimate guarantee of US base existence is the interim president Roza Otunbaeva. The interim government is still hesitating about closing US base but there are no warranties that new cabinet of ministers will agree to keep it.
In autumn 2010 elections of legitimate parliament will be held. New parliament will form legitimate cabinet of ministers and following political traditions Transit Center will be the focus of their attention. The base lets local politicians feel own importance as international players able influence USA.
History of independent Kyrgyzstan showed “games” with super powers are dangerous but such conclusions are unpopular now in Bishkek especially as USA plays into the hands of new Kyrgyz government. Thus, USA stated about their readiness to help in search and returning of stolen funds. US Ambassador Tatyana Gfoeller noted that Treasury Department of the US has possibilities for finding and freezing of secret accounts. At the same time Washington envoys persuade Kyrgyzstanis that military presence of USA is not a reason for trouble. Michael McFaul stated in Bishkek that USA doesn’t have plans of long-term using the base; they are going to close it as soon as war in Afghanistan will end. USA in every possible way has made assurances that in the near future need for US base existence in Central Asia will disappear. But how can we explain current discussions about US base establishing in Kazakhstan? There is no reasonable answer.
The Kazakhs have invented a mechanism of protection of Israel from the Turks
...The reason is that creating CICA, Kazakhstan introduced a charter of fundamental condition of the structure: any solution can only be taken under the consensus, the same final resolution the summit should be acceptable to all members of the CICA, among which there is Israel .
This "protective mechanism" worked on the eve of the summit. June 4-5 in Istanbul was a meeting of the Committee of senior officials of CICA. Its members were supposed to work out various technical and procedural aspects of the forthcoming summit. Israel at that meeting was presented to Consul General in Istanbul, the former ambassador to Kazakhstan , Moshe Qamhah . The Turks had introduced a working paper that because of objections and amendments, the Israeli representative had to change.
This "protective mechanism" to Israel fell especially the way it is now - on the background of crisis in relations with Turkey, which on 8 June was the duty chairman of the CICA. The Charter, developed in due time Kazakh diplomat, now denies the possibility of the Turks to turn this organization into yet another anti-Israel forum.
Moreover, the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev considers that the organization can still be activated in order to avoid further aggravation of the situation in the Middle East. "Effective implementation of the gained in the CICA features, including confidence-building measures will reduce the likelihood of incidents such as what occurred last week near the eastern coast of the Mediterranean", - said Kazakh leader, speaking at a summit in Istanbul on June 8.
..."Membership in the CICA allows Israel to have contact with those with whom we have no official relations. This is - a strategic forum in which Israelis are sitting at a table with the Iranians and Arabs," - said in 2008 staff of the diplomatic offices Eddie Shapira, then takes the U.S. Ambassador in Minsk. "CICA is for us the gates, not only in Kazakhstan but also in the Asian world as a whole", - stressed the Deputy Director General of Foreign Pinhas Avivi. Now that the presidency of that organization until 2012, moved to Turkey, the CICA is actually lost its uniqueness from the perspective of Jerusalem.