Bishkek tilts toward Moscow

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- The new prime minister of Kyrgyzstan picked Russia for his first formal state visit since taking office last week, a spokesman from his party said.

A new government in Bishkek took office Monday after leaders announced a coalition government last week.


Akhmatbek Keldibekov of the nationalist Ata-Jurt party was appointed parliamentary speaker. Almazbek Atambayev of the Social Democrats will serve as prime minister, a more powerful position in the new government.

Farid Niyazov, a spokesman for the Social Democrats, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that Atambayev was preparing for a trip to Moscow for his first official state visit.

No date was given for the meeting, though Atambayev was planning to meet with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during the visit.

Kyrgyzstan had parliamentary elections Oct. 10, six months after supporters of Roza Otunbayeva removed Kurmanbek Bakiyev from power.

Despite modest political development in the aftermath of the coup, tensions remain between members of the Kyrgyz and Uzbek communities in the south of the country, where the deposed president drew his support.

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