OSCE meeting considers Kyrgyz situation a test for bloc

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The informal foreign ministers' meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe considers the restive situation in Kyrgyzstan a "vitality test" and aims to reinforce assistance to the country.

The July 16-17 meeting convened while the world awaited substantial measures to restore peace and stability in Kyrgyzstan, which was hit by a series of deadly riots after former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in April.

According to the Kyrgyzstan Ministry of Health, the conflict killed more than 300 people and injured thousands more.

The complex situation in Kyrgyzstan is a threat to regional security, and its negative impact could spread to other regions, said Kanat Saudabayev, the OSCE chairperson-in-office and Kazakhstan's secretary of state and foreign minister.

The 56 diplomats were trying to send a 52-member unarmed police mission to the central Asian nation to monitor the situation for four months to help the interim government, which requested the mission, re-establish normalcy.

"The OSCE is to play a key role in rendering assistance to Kyrgyzstan, including through the enhancement of the OSCE Center in Biskeke and the proposed Police Advisory Group," Saudabayev said.

The bloc would also provide aid for the country's upcoming parliamentary elections, he said.

Herbert Salber, head of the OSCE's conflict prevention center, said the initial stage of the mission would cost "several million euros." The force could be increased to 102 if necessary, he said.

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev told the meeting that his country will provide 10 million U.S. dollars worth of emergent assistance to Kyrgyzstan.

He said that during the past five years Kyrgyzstan has experienced two government changes, and the root causes are economic stagnation, poverty, and poor governmental management.

Nazarbayev also said that as various Kyrgyz political parties intensively compete to win the elections, the country's weakly maintained stability might deteriorate at any time.

The OSCE, which has 56 members from Europe, Central Asia and North America, is a regional organization for conflict prevention, crisis management, and post-conflict rehabilitation.

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