Russia-led security group meet on Kyrgyzstan

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A security organisation led by Russia and grouping several ex-Soviet republics met for urgent talks here Monday on how to respond to the violence in Kyrgyzstan, Interfax news agency said.

"Collective measures aimed at stabilizing the situation in Kyrgyzstan, halting ethnic conflict, restoring the rule of law and ensuring security for citizens will be discussed," the agency quoted an official as saying.

The meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), a group led by Russia that includes Kyrgyzstan and other ex-Soviet republics in Central Asia, was called by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the agency said.

The group has in the past year discussed forming a collective rapid reaction force designed to respond to just such crises, but has so far looked like an organisation without a mission.

Kyrgyzstan's interim leader, Roza Otunbayeva, appealed last week to Russia for military assistance to bring the ethnic fighting in the south of the country under control.

The Kremlin dispatched two planeloads of humanitarian aid but has so far declined to intervene militarily, saying the violence in Kyrgyzstan is an internal problem and conditions do not exist for Russian intervention.

Russia has however rushed paratroop reinforcements to boost security at a Russian military base on the outskirts of Bishkek.

The United States also maintains an air transit base in Kyrgyzstan, a facility that has become crucial to US-led NATO operations in Afghanistan.

© 2010 AFP

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