Kyrgyz leader issues apology

Aug. 31, 2012 at 12:14 PM

MOSCOW, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- A former president of Kyrgyzstan asked for forgiveness for his mistakes, which he said included promoting ousted leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Bakiyev was ousted in a 2010 coup. He's wanted by the current Kyrgyz government on charges he played a role in the deaths of hundreds of people during the uprising that led to his ouster. He and his family fled to Belarus during the coup.

Following the coup, at least 400 people were killed during violence between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks in the southern regions of Osh and Jalal Abad.

Former President Askar Akayev told the Kyrgyz bureau of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty he was in part responsible for economic and political problems during his role as the country's first president since independence from the Soviet Union.

"For over 14 years I had served as your president with your trust during our country's establishment," Akayev said. "Because of that, let me use this moment and ask for all the Kyrgyz people's forgiveness if my mistakes negatively affected Kyrgyzstan during my presidency, or even afterward."

Bakiyev emerged as prime minister during Akayev's administration. The former president, living in Moscow since 2005, said Bakiyev "did lots of harm" during his tenure.

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