Astana concerned about ethnic violence

ASTANA, Kazakhstan, June 30 (UPI) -- Instability in Kyrgyzstan is a potential threat to the entire Central Asian region, the president of Kazakhstan told the OSCE in Astana.

A constitutional referendum passed Sunday in Kyrgyzstan transfers much of the power from the president to a prime minister. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe announced that its observers hailed the measure as a step in the right direction after civil strife in the wake of an April coup killed hundreds and displaced thousands more.


Nursultan Nazarbayev, president of neighboring Kazakhstan, told an OSCE conference on tolerance that the conflict that gripped the ethnic Uzbek and Kyrgyz communities in southern Kyrgyzstan in June presented a "significant" challenge to the region, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.

The Kazakh president called for an OSCE center to mediate discussions between ethnic and religious communities in the 56-member intergovernmental organization.

Kazakhstan took over the leadership of the OSCE in January.

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