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Russian anger a factor in Kyrgyz revolt: Ousted Prez

Last Updated: Friday, April 23, 2010 - 15:25

Minsk: Deposed Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said on Friday that Russian anger at his decision to extend the lease on a US air base was a factor in his overthrow on April 07.

Speaking from the Belarussian capital Minsk, where he fled after the revolt against his rule, Bakiyev said he had no plans to go back and lead Kyrgyzstan again.

"I do not intend to return to Kyrgyzstan as president," Bakiyev told a news conference, adding the resignation he said he had signed under pressure was invalid.

“The other side has not fulfilled its conditions. They guaranteed the safety of my family, but my family is being persecuted, therefore I do not recognise my resignation."

Moscow has long been a powerbroker in the ex-Soviet state and Bakiyev said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin were unhappy at his decision to extend the base lease.

"They (Medvedev and Putin) told me: `Why are you holding on to this Manas base, this worries us, this does not suit us`," Bakiyev said.

"Russia`s leadership was irritated, annoyed by the presence of the base and this factor also played a certain role."

Russia and the United States both operate military bases in the impoverished country of 5.3 million people, and the unrest has already disrupted operations at the US Manas air base supplying troops in Afghanistan.

Russia has long dreamt of evicting the United States from Central Asia and some members of the Kyrgyz provisional government have suggested the lease may be shortened.

Interim leader Roza Otunbayeva has said the base agreement will be preserved though she has said there are some outstanding questions.

Suspicions of the Kremlin`s hand in the unrest were raised when Putin became the first world leader to recognise the authority of the new government by phoning Otunbayev just hours after she took power. Putin has denied any involvement.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday that the United States saw no problems with the Manas base deal and that the new Kyrgyz leadership had given assurances to Washington on future use of the air base.

Interim officials have set Presidential Elections in Kyrgyzstan for October 10.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, April 23, 2010 - 15:25

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