Belarus grants Bakiyev asylum

By Isabel Gorst in Bishkek

The former president of Kyrgyzstan, who left his country last week after being ousted in a violent revolt, has been given asylum in Belarus.

The move risks angering Russia, which refused to give refuge to Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who served as president for five years after 2005, and accused him of fomenting a civil war in southern Kyrgyzstan where he fled after the uprising.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus's president, said: "This is my personal decision as a president and as a person, and I have the right to it by law."

The interim government, which seized power in Kyrygzstan after the uprising, has pledged to bring Mr Bakiyev to justice for allegedly plundering his country and ordering troops to fire on protesters during the uprising, which claimed at least 84 lives.

Mr Bakiyev was flown from Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan last week after Russia and the US urged him to resign and go into exile. He arrived in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, on Monday

Mr Lukashenko said Belarus would provide humanitarian aid to Kyrgyzstan, which is facing an economic crisis in the wake of the revolution. The interim government has accused Mr Bakiyev and his family of looting state coffers and leaving only ?22m ($34m) behind.


Partners: Social Network