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Belarus says ousted Kyrgyz president in Minsk
MINSK, Belarus – The ousted president of Kyrgyzstan is in Belarus, the country’s president said Tuesday.
Kurmanbek Bakiyev fled Kyrgyzstan after a bloody uprising on April 7, and last week took refuge in neighboring Kazakhstan.
He left Kazakhstan on Monday for a destination not announced, after Belarus’ authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko said Sunday that Bakiyev would be welcome in his country.
On Tuesday, Lukashenko said he had arranged for Bakiyev to come to the Belarusian capital.
"President Bakiyev and his family are in Minsk under the protection of our state and me personally," Lukashenko said in televised remarks to parliament, adding that his guests were undergoing medical checkups.
Bakiyev’s presence in Belarus could exacerbate the authoritarian nation’s tensions with both the West as well as neighboring Russia.
Lukashenko also said he had ordered food deliveries to Kyrgyzstan, an impoverished country where poor living conditions contribute to political tensions.
Bakiyev was deposed after an uprising in Bishkek that left 83 people dead when gunfire broke out at a protest rally.
Kyrgyzstan’s interim authorities have warned that Bakiyev will be imprisoned if he returns to the Central Asian country. Interim government member Edil Baisalov told Russian agency Interfax on Tuesday that Bakiyev could only return "in the capacity of a prisoner."
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