Archive for Kyrgyzstan
Russia’s Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Andrei Krutko has protested a new restaurant in Bishkek named after the Russian president. Krutko said late that naming “a dubious drinking site” after “our president” is “unethical” and therefore he asked Bishkek authorities to remove the commercial banners and billboards advertising the pub. Krutko added that he would do everything possible “either to shut down the place or to make it change its name.”
The United States has criticized proposed legislation which seeks to outlaw “popularizing homosexual relations” in the former Soviet nation of Kyrgyzstan. If the changes are approved, a person convicted of “forming a positive attitude to untraditional sexual relations” among minors or in mass media would face fines or a prison term of up to one year, according to Reuters. The U.S. embassy in Kyrgyzstan responded in a statement: “No one should be silenced or imprisoned because of who they are or whom they love. Laws that discriminate against one group of people threaten the fundamental rights of all people.”
Kyrgyzstan’s Foreign Ministry has sent a note of protest to Tashkent regarding a traffic accident involving an Uzbek Embassy official that reportedly led to a scuffle. The ministry’s press service reported its response on August 26. It said that a car with an Uzbek Embassy license plate collided with another vehicle after midnight on August 23 near a nightclub in Bishkek. According to the ministry, the Uzbek Embassy’s first secretary, whose name was given as “M. Khairitdinov,” and several men accompanying him, assaulted the Kyrgyz driver of another vehicle involved in the accident. Uzbek Embassy officials were not available for immediate comment.
Switzerland says it is seeking to expand its influence in Central Asia with the upgrading of a cooperation office in Kyrgyzstan into a full-fledged embassy. Swiss Council of States President Hans Altherr — speaker of Switzerland’s upper house of Parliament — and foreign development officials met in Bishkek Monday with Kyrgyz Deputy Prime Minister Djoomart Otorbaev to mark the inauguration of the new status between the two countries. At the meeting, Altherr said Switzerland will increase financial assistance to Kyrgyzstan 50 percent in the 2014-16 period. Switzerland has sent about $200 million in aid to Kyrgyzstan from 1995-2011.
Demonstrators in Bishkek, furious that Minsk is ignoring demands to extradite the brother of the former president to face murder charges, roughed up the Belarusian Embassy on August 28, local news agencies reported. The Bakiyevs were ousted in bloody street riots in April 2010, when Kurmanbek fled to Belarus. Bishkek has repeatedly requested his extradition, though the ex-autocrat is said to have scored Belarusian citizenship and a $2-million home in the capital. Upwards of 50 people, including relatives of those who died on April 7, 2010, attacked the embassy, Radio Azattyk reported, breaking windows and destroying furniture. Janysh, his brother’s security boss, is accused of giving orders to fire on the crowd as Bakiyev clung to power, resulting in about 90 dead and hundreds wounded. Bishkek is trying the brothers in absentia. Ambassador Viktor Denisenko met protestors and made some vague promises. Despite the violence, Minsk says it has no plans to recall its ambassador from Kyrgyzstan. Bishkek yanked its ambassador out of Belarus last week and has turned to the Commonwealth of Independent States, a group of post-Soviet states, to lean on Minsk to help with its extradition request.
Switzerland embassy will be opened in Kyrgyzstan in autumn 2012, informs Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. “Government of Switzerland decided to increase level of its mission in Kyrgyzstan to open the embassy in Bishkek in autumn 2012. Department of Foreign Affairs head Didier Burkhalter officially informed Kyrgyz Foreign Affairs Minister Ruslan Kazabaev,” explained the agency representatives. “The Embassy Opening in Bishkek is an expression of firm commitment of Swiss Confederation to develop further relations in political, economic and cultural spheres as well as technical cooperation. We are sure that the our embassy will promote further strengthening of relations which have been building by our countries during 20 years,” said in the official letter.
Note to Tatiana Gfoeller, U.S. ambassador to Kyrgyzstan: If you ever tire of the Foreign Service — or get drummed out — there may be a reporting job for you. Gfoeller, a career diplomat who speaks six languages — seven, if you count English — is the author of a WikiLeak’d diplomatic cable about Britain’s Prince Andrew that made headlines in London because she said the conversation at a brunch the prince shared with diplomats in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital, two years ago “verged on the rude.” Among the prince’s targets, Gfoeller reported, were the French, whose penchant for corruption, in the prince’s opinion, was nearly as great as the Kyrgyz government’s, and the Americans, whose ignorance of geography placed them in a category definitely inferior to his own countrymen. But it isn’t just the prince’s indiscretions that make Gfoeller’s account so worthy of notice; Andrew isn’t a diplomat, after all, and as the second son of Queen Elizabeth II he isn’t likely to be King of England, either. Rather, it’s the rollicking way Gfoeller tells the tale, filled with verbatim quotes, witty observations and attention to setting the scene. To wit: After one businessman complained to the prince about being “harassed and hounded by Kyrgyz tax authorities,” Gfoeller wrote, “The prince reacted with unmitigated patriotic fervor. … ‘A contract is a contract,’ he insisted. ‘You have to take the rough with the smooth.'” After other businessmen complained about having to pay bribes to Kyrgyzstan’s president’s son, “Prince Andrew took up the topic with gusto. … ‘All of this sounds exactly like France,'” she quoted the prince as saying, noting that “at this point the Duke of York laughed uproariously.”