The political crisis in the Central Asian Republic of Kyrgyzstan has seen Slovenia playing a major mediating role. Slovenia currently holds the rotating presidency of Europe's largest security organisation, the OSCE. And it's the OSCE which has taken the lead in international efforts to ensure a peaceful transition in Kyrgyzstan since protesters forced President Askar Akayev from power just over a week ago.
OSCE chairman-in-office Dimitrij Rupel sent Alojz Peterle his personal representative to central Asia to Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek last week. It was during the time of unrest as anti-government protesters were storming the government compound. Alojz Peterle was holding talks with Foreign Minister Askar Aitmatov, when protesters seized the presidential and government headquarters and demanded that President Akayev step down. Peterle urged all sides to refrain from violence and to start a dialogue as quickly as possible stressing that the OSCE was ready to mediate. He experienced the turmoil first hand when his was attacked with stones and bats. His driver was able to penetrate the roadblock and they were able to leave the scene safe and sound. Later, during a press conference, he described his first hand experience of the first days of the crisis in Bishkek:
"The second night was definitely different from the first night and the third night again was much better. Two days before I was able to hear shooting in the surrounding here and there, during the last night this was not the case. I think that the idea to engage people in that so called community guard was good and has provided more security for the people."
Alojz Peterle gave his statement after the Kyrgyz opposition had toppled the government and named an acting president and interim prime minister. However, he is aware of the restricted role that the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe can play in establishing stable conditions in the country. He described the main task of the organisation in helping resolve the crisis...
"I only knew that we are dealing with different opinions on legality and legitimacy and of course, when opinions are so different there are political problems, not only I would say technical problems. It is not our task now to judge, which opinion is better or more acceptable what we can do is to provide assistance in order to clarify the situation to prepare elements for good decisions."
Slovenia's Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairman-in-Office Dimitrij Rupel, who also held talks in Bishkek with representatives of the interim government as well as representatives of the Non Governmental Organisations said that Kyrgyzstan should hold elections as soon as possible in order to formally end the era of the deposed president Akayev and said he wished for " fair and free elections" and was willing to help prepare and supervise the polls.
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