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Kyrgyzstan Dabbles in Cypriot Politics

By News Briefing Central Asia
A somewhat unexpected statement from Kyrgyzstan’s foreign ministry reaffirming its recognition of Cyprus as a single state is an attempt to avert a diplomatic scandal, say analysts.

On August 18, a member of the Kyrgyz parliament, Arslanbek Maliev, proposed that Kyrgyzstan should recognise the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as an independent state. In return, he said, Turkey should write off the debt Kyrgyzstan owes it.

Since this would have violated several resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, Kyrgyzstan’s diplomatic corps felt compelled to make an official statement. The Security Council has stipulated that Cyprus is a state with unified citizenship and sovereignty, guaranteed independence and territorial integrity, and is made up of two politically equal communities.

The UN has asked all its members to avoid any action that might upset the status quo.

Analysts say that without the foreign ministry’s intervention, Kyrgyzstan could have caused quite an international stir by proposing recognition of the self-proclaimed republic.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus declared itself a state in 1983, but to date has been recognised only by Ankara.

The matter of Kyrgyzstan’s debt to Turkey, which amounts to something over 48 million US dollars, is unlikely to be resolved if Bishkek were to recognise Northern Cyprus.

Experts point out that the failure to coordinate foreign policy statements made by the various branches of government is a characteristic of Kyrgyzstan’s political elite. The foreign ministry’s swift reaction to what was a rather unusual suggestion by a parliamentarian was most likely an attempt to avoid having to deal with unpleasant international fallout.

(News Briefing Central Asia draws comment and analysis from a broad range of political observers across the region.)