Roundtable Discussion with Roza Otunbayeva

Roza Otunbayeva, Martha Brill Olcott April 16, 2010 Washington, D.C.
Roza Otunbayeva, chairman of the interim government of the Kyrgyz Republic, discussed the recent upheaval in Kyrgyzstan and prospects for the country's political future and relations with the United States, Russia, China, and Europe.

Immediate priorities of the Provisional Government

Otunbayeva explained that on April 8, following the use of force against angry demonstrators by what she termed Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s nepotistic and authoritarian regime, a coalition of three major Kyrgyz political opposition parties formed a new provisional government. In the next six months, this new government will seek to:

  • Restore and secure order in Kyrgyzstan
  • Normalize daily activities
  • Supervise the drafting of a new constitution that will both make Kyrgyzstan a parliamentary republic and reform the country’s judiciary and its electoral system. 

Otunbayeva did not try to predict the outcome of future elections, but vowed that the elections for the new parliament, which will form the new government, will be truly democratic. When asked about her own political plans, Otunbayeva said that her agreement to allow Bakiyev to resign and leave the country was a form of political suicide for her, taken to save lives by resolving the “dangerous situation,” created by Bakiyev’s attempt to stimulate the country’s North-South divide. 

Finding the right balance

In response to questions about the U. S. military’s “Manas Transit Center,” Otunbayeva said that Kyrgyzstan will keep its commitments and will remain in continued discussion with the United States over their mutual interests. She noted and thanked the United States and Russia for their humanitarian aid packages and offers of technical assistance.

Otunbayeva stressed the long-standing economic ties and friendship with Russia and described the interim government’s relationship with China as “very friendly.” She did not envision any future problems between the two countries given their common cultural and national interests. She saw great potential in future projects with China.

Otunbayeva described the interim government’s foreign policy vision: “I want to assure you we will make the right balance in the sake of my country’s national interests. We will certainly underline and stress our geographic position, common regional interests: language, culture, and traditions.”



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