New Kyrgyz president inaugurated

President-elect Kurmanbek Bakiyev was inaugurated as the president of Kyrgyzstan.

Putting his hand on the Constitution, Bakiyev read out the president's oath to the people and received a certificate of the President of Kyrgyzstan, a standard (flag) and a badge from the chairman of the Kyrgyz central electoral commission.

About 6,000 people attended the inauguration ceremony.

'I am looking into the future with hope and confidence. I know what has to be done to make the life of my people better, develop the economy and raise people's well-being," Bakiyev said in an inauguration statement.

He added that he intended to pursue a social and economic policy designed to bring prosperity to every family and to "return respect for authorities and law." He also intended to seek modern life standards while remaining faithful to the people's traditions, reports RIA Novosti.

According to VOA, the former opposition leader made no mention of the 1,000 U.S.-led troops stationed in the country to support combat operations in nearby Afghanistan.

But U.S. officials including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recently received assurances the troops will be allowed to remain as long as necessary to bring stability to Afghanistan.

The issue has taken on added importance since last month, when neighboring Uzbekistan said U.S. troops based there must leave.

The United States had strongly supported efforts to find refuge abroad for Uzbek refugees who fled to Kyrgyzstan in May following violence in the Uzbek city of Andijan.

"We respect the interests of other nations," Mr. Bakiyev said in his inauguration speech, "but the interests of our own people and state, freedom and independence of Kyrgyzstan are predominant for us."

He did not name any nations in particular. But Kyrgyzstan faces pressure from Russia and China, which have been increasingly uneasy about the American military presence in the country, which is rich in resources and is strategically placed in Central Asia.

Moscow and Beijing dominate the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security grouping that includes Kyrgyzstan and three other ex-Soviet Central Asian nations, informs the New York Times.

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