Kyrgyzstan asks for international help against fundamentalism, unrest from Uzbekistan

Kyrgyzstan pleaded for international support Wednesday to help its new leaders, who were brought to power by an uprising in March, to prepare for July elections and prevent unrest in neighboring Uzbekistan from spilling into its territory.

"The new leadership of our country is expecting that the international community will render assistance," said Askar Sarygulov, Kyrgyzstan's envoy to Sweden.

The appeal came at a meeting of NATO nations and 20-some countries from the Balkans to Central Asia.

Unrest in Uzbekistan, where security forces cracked down on protesters this month, "is considered by some forces as an opportunity," Sarygulov said.

He said his country needed, among other things, intelligence-gathering capabilities to combat the drugs trade and terrorism and help to upgrade its military.

He also reiterated Kyrgyzstan's commitment to human and democratic rights.

The ex-Soviet republic on July 10 will choose a successor to former President Askar Akayev, who fled the country after the March 24 popular revolt against his autocratic rule.


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