Germany, France call for OSCE-led probe of Kyrgyzstan unrest

16th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

France and Germany's foreign ministers called Friday for an OSCE-led probe in Kyrgyzstan of ethnic bloodshed as the security grouping met on how to restore order in the strategic Central Asian state.

After a visit to areas torn by ethnic unrest in Kyrgyzstan's south, the ministers said they would back an international inquiry at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) talks in Kazakhstan on Saturday.

"Achieving stability in this region will only be possible if the circumstances and causes of what happened are cleared up with an independent international investigation," German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said, via a Russian translator.

"We must very clearly understand who is behind these tragic events: criminal gangs, political forces or extremists," he said, following talks with Kyrgyzstan's leader Roza Otunbayeva in the capital, Bishkek.

"That is why, together with French Minister (Bernard) Kouchner we will propose this tomorrow," he added.

The OSCE is set to discuss support for Kyrgyzstan after the bloodletting, including the deployment of a temporary police mission, when the top diplomats of the 56 member states meet outside the Kazakh city of Almaty.

Kouchner in turn stressed the importance of Kyrgyzstan's strategic proximity to Afghanistan in vowing support for the Central Asian state, which host a US airbase that is vital to its war effort.

"You are not alone, Europeans understand that we must do everything to help Kyrgyzstan so as to prevent one more step towards destabilisation near Afghanistan," he told Otunbayeva.

The talks come as Kyrgyzstan interim government -- which only came to power in an April uprising -- is still struggling to impose order just over a month after the worst ethnic violence since the Soviet collapse.

Officials have said up to 2,000 people may have been killed in the clashes between majority Kyrgyz and minority Uzbeks in the southern Kyrgyzstan regions of Osh and Jalalabad and the situation remains tense.

© 2010 AFP

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