Ousted Kyrgyz president says he will not resign

Kyrgyzstan's ousted President Askar Akayev said Tuesday that he is currently outside Moscow and will not resign.

"I'm in Russia, outside Moscow," Akayev said in an interview broadcast on Moscow's Ekho Moskvyi radio. "I've not resigned as president. I am the only elected and legitimate president of Kyrgyzstan. At the moment, I don't see any reason or justification to resign."

The voice sounded like Akayev, though there was no immediate way to confirm it was indeed the Kyrgyz president. Ekho Moskvyi refused to release the phone number where Akayev was speaking from.

Akayev also accused the opposition of a long-planned plot to oust him.

"From the very beginning, the opposition planned to seize power, not just stage peaceful rallies," he said.

The interview came five days after protesters stormed government buildings in the capital of the impoverished Central Asian country, sending Akayev and his family fleeing and sparking looting and scattered violence.

Kyrgyzstan is the third former Soviet republic in the past 18 months - after Georgia and Ukraine - where the opposition was swept to power after mass protests against long-entrenched leaders.

Responding to questions, Akayev said the newly elected parliament - whose election in February and March was condemned by international observers as fraudulent - was the only legitimate body in Kyrgyzstan.

"In Kyrgyzstan, the only legitimate authority is the new parliament; the interim government is not legitimate," he said.

Akayev made no immediate mention of Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was appointed prime minister Monday by the new parliament and has been named acting president. Akayev said he considers Omurbek Tekebayev - currently the speaker of the new parliament - to be the legitimate interim leader.

Opposition-led protests began swelling in early March after the first round of the parliamentary elections, which the opposition said were manipulated by Akayev's regime to give him a compliant legislature.

Associated Press

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