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Kyrgyz President formally resigns after turmoil

Last Updated: Friday, April 16, 2010 - 13:26

Bishkek: Deposed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev formally resigned in a hand-written letter faxed to Kyrgyzstan`s new leaders, officials said on Friday, allaying fears of civil war in the strategic Central Asian country.

Bakiyev fled to neighbouring Kazakhstan on Thursday, ending days of turmoil that disrupted US military flights through a Kyrgyz air base to operations in Afghanistan.

The crisis has underlined rivalries between the United States and Russia for influence in Central Asia, a vast region between China, Afghanistan and the Caspian Sea.

The interim government, led by Roza Otunbayeva, said Bakiyev had faxed his resignation letter overnight from Kazakhstan.

"I tender my resignation in these tragic days as I understand the full scale of my responsibility for the future of the Kyrgyz people," Bakiyev said in the letter.

Its text was posted on the Twitter account of the interim chief of staff, often used by his team to make announcements. A photograph showed Otunbayeva scrutinising the letter.

Bakiyev`s departure has sharply reduced tensions in the impoverished former Soviet republic after a violent uprising against his five-year rule raised the spectre of civil war.

He has not appeared in public since fleeing. Officials say he is in the Kazakh city of Taraz with his wife and two children. Russian media say he could fly on to Turkey or Latvia.

Taraz, a sleepy town in the southern Kazakh steppe on the Kyrgyz border, overflowed with rumours after Bakiyev`s arrival.

A local security source said Bakiyev had been whisked to a secret location in Taraz and locals saw a motorcade of jeeps without number plates driving out of the airport overnight.

At least 84 people were killed in the uprising last week when a protest against Bakiyev`s rule erupted into a night of gunfire and looting in the Kyrgyz capital. Troops loyal to Bakiyev shot into a crowd of thousands of demonstrators.

Addressing the nation in a live televised statement, Otunbayeva said Bakiyev must stand trial over the events.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, April 16, 2010 - 13:26
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