Situation is tense in south Kyrgyzstan

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- The situation in southern Kyrgyzstan remains fragile more than three months after ethnic violence gripped the region, a broadcaster said.

Radio Free Europe President Jeffery Gedmin met with Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva and key political leaders in Bishkek to discuss press freedom in the former Soviet republic.


Gedmin said it was important for the country to keep strong links to the outside world through international broadcasters like his. With parliamentary elections scheduled for October, he described the situation in the country as tense.

"The peace in southern Kyrgyzstan is fragile," he added.

Violence between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyzs erupted in early June in the southern Kyrgyz cities of Osh and Jalal Abad following an April coup.

Otunbayeva warned that authorities would cancel the vote and impose a state of emergency if ethnic tensions flared up ahead of the vote.

The nationwide vote for a new parliamentary government is set for Oct. 10. Otunbayeva was declared the president of Kyrgyzstan in July for a transition period lasting until the end of 2011.

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