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Kyrgyzstan Moves Forward

The Kyrgyzstan parliament has accepted the resignation of ousted President Askar Akayev. Lawmakers also agreed to schedule a new presidential election for July 10th.

Mr. Akayev ruled the mostly Muslim nation of five-million people for almost fifteen years. He fled Kyrgyzstan in March when thousands of protesters stormed government buildings in Bishkek, the capital. The protests were sparked by parliamentary elections, which the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe determined were seriously flawed.

The O-S-C-E is taking the lead in helping to promote democratic reform to Kyrgyzstan. Speaking to the O-S-C-E, American Charge D'Affaires Paul Jones said the U.S. "welcomes President Akayev's decision to tender his resignation and the decision of the Kyrgyz parliament to hold presidential elections."

The Kyrgyz people now have a unique opportunity to lay the foundation for a democratic society based on the rule of law, respect for human rights, and citizens' right to choose their leaders. This is a daunting task, said Mr. Jones, "but it is the only path to long-term peace and prosperity; and not one that the Kyrgyz need embark on alone."

The O-S-C-E is developing plans to aid Kyrgyzstan's democratic development by supporting the upcoming presidential election, strengthening the rule of law and encouraging free media. Kyrgyz journalist Alisher Khamidov says the resignation of Mr. Akayev will enable his country to proceed with more legitimacy:

"I feel outside actors can help the new government specifically with these tasks, to consolidate democratic change and help them to improve the economy, deliver on the promise of restoring order and taming corruption. At the moment, the new government desperately needs technical assistance and help with agricultural reform. And they need training in better governance and fighting corruption, and, most important, the training of new law-enforcement forces to restore order in the country."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the U.S. is "trying to help promote a process that will turn the developments. . . .on the ground into a democratic process that can get for the Kyrgyz people. . . .a stable government and a move toward a better, democratic future."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.