CHOLPON-ATA, July 27. /TASS/. The US State Department’s decision to hand its Human Rights Defenders Award to Azimzhan Askarov, who is sentenced to life imprisonment in Kyrgyzstan for inciting inter-ethnic discord, organizing mass riots and complicity in killing a police officer during mass protests, is an attempt to create "controlled chaos" in the country, President Almazbek Atambayev told journalists on Monday.
US State Department’s actions "look like they are aimed at inciting inter-ethnic discord," Atambayev said. "I would not want such situation [protests] to happen again, and I am displeased with attempts to create controlled chaos here," the president noted.
Atambayev also said he supports the Kyrgyz government’s decision to denounce 1993 cooperation agreement with Washington that allowed the US to export products for fulfilling Washington’s programs to Kyrgyzstan customs-free. "I, as a president, have only one vector in foreign policy — everything should be done in the interests of our country. I support our government in this matter," he stressed.
Two weeks ago, US State Department handed its Human Rights Defenders Award to Kyrgyz national Azimzhan Askarov, who participated in clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks that took place in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010. Nearly 500 people died and 2,000 were injured. The clashes followed the revolution and change of power in April 2010.
Kyrgyzstan’s foreign ministry said that "awarding Askarov, who was convicted by all republic’s courts for inciting inter-ethnic discord, organizing mass riots and complicity in killing a police officer during mass protests during tragic events of June 2010, called into question the constructiveness and equality of bilateral cooperation between the two countries." The foreign ministry said the award presented to Askarov is a "factor aimed at undermining the process of strengthening the unity of people and accord in the country" adding that cooperation with US will hopefully develop "on the basis of mutual respect and constructivism" in the future.