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US official backs police mission for Kyrgyzstan

Posted on July 20, 2010 by KazCham

Agence France Presse

ALMATY, Kazakhstan — US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg on Saturday called for the urgent dispatch of a police mission to Kyrgyzstan following ethnic clashes, as OSCE ministers met in Kazakhstan.

An international police mission “will help restore order, especially on the eve of elections, and will promote a swift reconciliation between the two sides in southern Kyrgyzstan,” Steinberg said in comments translated into Russian.
Top diplomats from the 56 states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) held a second day of bilateral meetings outside the Kazakh city of Almaty on Saturday.

The meeting comes just over a month after neighbouring Kyrgyzstan was shattered by the worst ethnic violence in Central Asia since the fall of the Soviet Union.

“We consider that Kazakhstan, as the acting chairman of the OSCE, needs to send police officers as quickly as possible to this region,” Steinberg said at a news conference.

Kazakh Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev said Saturday that a decision would be taken on sending a police mission “in the nearest future.”
Officials have said that up to 2,000 people may have been killed in the clashes between majority Kyrgyz and minority Uzbeks in the southern Kyrgzystan regions of Osh and Jalalbad and the situation remains tense.

Kyrgyzstan’s interim government plans to hold parliamentary elections in October in an effort to boost its legitimacy.

On Friday, Herbert Salber, the head of the OSCE’s conflict prevention centre, said an agreement had been reached with Kyrgyzstan to send an international police mission.

He told reporters initially 52 police officers would be sent from OSCE states for an initial period of four months, although the force could be increased to 102 if necessary.

The task of the mission would be “assisting and also monitoring the Kyrgyz police,” Salber said. “They will accompany them in their work to strengthen confidence between the police and the population.”

SOURCE: Release of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States of America, No 20 July 19, 2010

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