22 March 2005

Secretary-General Expresses Concern over Escalation in Southern Kyrgyzstan

NEW YORK, 21 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following is a statement attributable to the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General is very concerned at the recent escalation of serious incidents in southern Kyrgyzstan, where protestors have clashed with police and seized government offices in the towns of Osh and Jalal-Abad.

The Secretary-General is opposed to the use of violence and intimidation to resolve electoral and political disputes, and calls on all parties to apply restraint.  Dialogue is the only viable means for addressing the current tensions.  In this context, he welcomes the recent offer by President Akayev to begin dialogue, and the positive response of the opposition.

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