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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

OSCE Chief Urges Akayev to Resign

ReutersA sign reading "Akayev's a Thief. Return the Loot!" at a rally Thursday outside the Russian Embassy in Bishkek.
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- The head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe called on ousted Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev to resign and urged the country's new leadership on Thursday to avoid dangerous infighting before a new election.

OSCE chairman Dimitrij Rupel said that Akayev should cooperate with efforts to secure his resignation and that the "cooperation should be effective and as short as possible" in order to ease persistent uncertainty in Kyrgyzstan.

In the third visit by a high-level OSCE official to Kyrgyzstan since the upheaval that led Akayev to flee to Russia, Rupel said the 55-nation organization backs the new parliament's effort to hold talks to win Akayev's resignation.

"The OSCE supports negotiations; excluding President Akayev from this volatile period would be dangerous," he said.

But he stressed that the OSCE recognizes the new leadership as legitimate and legal.

Rupel urged the new Kyrgyz leaders to work together and avoid infighting that could lead to new unrest before a June 26 presidential election.

Rupel met with acting President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Foreign Minister Roza Otunbayeva, parliament speaker Omurbek Tekebayev and Felix Kulov, who resigned as law enforcement coordinator Wednesday. Kulov's resignation was interpreted by some as a sign he could be planning a presidential bid against Bakiyev, who has announced plans to run. Bakiyev said Wednesday that it would be dangerous for Akayev to return in the near future; Kulov indicated he should come back to resign.

Rupel said the legal status of Kulov, who was imprisoned under Akayev and released during the power seizure last week, should be cleared up in time for him to run in the election if he chooses. He said Kulov gave him the impression in their meeting that he would run.

From his exile outside Moscow, Akayev said outside forces, including the U.S. ambassador, helped fuel the revolt that ousted him. "There were international organizations who supported and financed the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan," Akayev told BBC radio. "A week before these events I saw a letter on the Internet signed by the U.S. ambassador to Kyrgyzstan. It contained a detailed plan for the revolution."

The U.S. Embassy in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, has repeatedly said the letter posted on the Internet in mid-March was a fake, and it reiterated that statement Thursday.