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Kyrgyz president agrees to resign

MOSCOW – Kyrgyzstan president Askar Akayev has agreed in principle to resign, a move that would clear the way for the nation’s revolutionary government to proceed with new presidential elections in June, authorities said Saturday.

In a development that signaled a possible end to the political impasse that has threatened the Central Asian nation with instability since Akayev was driven from power on March 24, Parliament leaders said they would meet with the ousted president today in Moscow to discuss his formal abdication.

“A verbal agreement has been received from the president that he will relinquish power,” Parliament speaker Omurbek Tekebayev said. “He has a sober view on the situation that has taken shape in the republic and, as head of state, he is fully aware of his actions, and acts only in the people’s interests.”

Akayev, Kyrygzstan’s president since shortly before independence in 1991, had hoped to return to the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek and address Parliament before stepping down. But he is is near agreement on making his formal resignation in Russia, where he fled to late last month, instead of returning home in order to avoid an array of political, security and legal problems, Kyrgyz officials and analysts said.

On Friday, new foreign minister Roza Otunbayeva warned that Akayev could be “torn apart by crowds” of the kind that forced their way into government headquarters on March 24 if he returns to Bishkek.

Acting president Kurmanbek Bakiyev also said he could not guarantee Akayev’s safety if he returned to the country. “He shouldn’t come to Kyrgyzstan, whether it’s for five or 10 minutes,” he said.

Tekebayev said Akayev was told he would be offered “all privileges” if he resigned voluntarily, but would face a relatively simple process of impeachment if he refused.


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