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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bakiyev Vows Not to Return to Kyrgyzstan

MINSK, Belarus — Kyrgyzstan's ousted president said Friday fr om exile in Belarus that he does not intend to return to his homeland as its leader, but added that a resignation he said he had signed under pressure was invalid.

Kurmanbek Bakiyev was deposed in an April 7 uprising that left 85 people dead in the Kyrgyz capital. He fled last week to neighboring Kazakhstan and arrived in the Belarussian capital earlier this week.

Bakiyev said his resignation, signed before he left Kyrgyzstan, was not in force because interim officials reneged on a promise to protect his relatives.

"I don't intend to return to Kyrgyzstan as president," he told reporters in Minsk, but added that "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 recognize my resignation."

While at his stronghold in the south of Kyrgyzstan, wh ere he went in the heat of the uprising in Bishkek, Bakiyev said, he was warned by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that he would be held personally accountable if he put up military resistance to the provisional authorities.

"There was the threat to me and my relatives and a threat of civil war," Bakiyev said. "So I submitted my resignation and left."

Bakiyev said Putin told him in their telephone conversation that he would not be blamed for the bloodshed during the uprising.

The United States and Russia helped broker the agreement for Bakiyev's departure from Kyrgyzstan, which hosts a U.S. military base crucial to operations in Afghanistan. Russia, which also has a base in Kyrgyzstan, is irritated at the American military presence in what it sees as its region of influence.

Interim officials have set presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan for Oct. 10.