Kyrgyzstan seeks Mahathir`s assistance in peace process

Mahathir Mohamad is well-known in Kyrgyzstan among the Kyrgyz and the Uzbeks.

Kuala Lumpur: Kyrgyzstan has sought help from Malaysia`s former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad in bringing peace between the Kyrgyz and the Uzbeks after clashes between the two ethnic groups left 2,000 people death.

Kyrgyzstan`s Ambassador to Malaysia, Bakir Uulu Tursunbay, said that Mahathir, as the Malaysian elder statesman and well respected in the Muslim world, would be accepted to both parties and based on his vast experience was suitable to undertake the peace-making role.

Bakir said he had requested to meet Mahathir and hoped to meet him soon to convey the message on the matter. "We believe our people, both Kyrgyz and Uzbeks, will listen to people like him. As a Muslim and a neutral person, he can contribute positively to peace-making efforts and the confidence-building process," Bakir told Bernama in an interview at his office here.

News reports said that clashes between the ethnic-majority Kyrgyz and the minority Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan this month had killed as many as 2,000 people and forced some 400,000 ethnic Uzbeks to temporarily flee to

Bakir said Mahathir was well-known in Kyrgyzstan among the two ethnic groups as he had visited the landlocked and mountainous country of some 5.5 million people twice in 1996 and 1997 and they were also aware of his contributions to Malaysia and the Muslim world.

Bakir said he had noted Mahathir`s role in developing Bishkek and Kuala Lumpur bilateral relations as he was the one who had convinced the then President Askar Akayev, the first president of the country, to open the Kyrgyzstan embassy here in 1997.


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