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AKAYEV CALLS TO PROTECT YOUNG AND WEAK DEMOCRACY

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MOSCOW, March 29 (RIA Novosti) - If he only knew Bishkek, Kyrgyz capital, was in for ransacking, President Askar Akayev would have certainly introduced a state of emergency, he said in an interview.

"I was dead set against using arms [on the opposition]. I was firm about it from the start. That was why the opposition could seize the Government House. The hoodlums ransacked the city and it was worse than any nightmare," he noted.

"What advice would you like to give other presidents, in particular, Emomali Rakhmonov, Saparmurat Niyazov and Vladimir Putin?" asked the interviewer.

"Our democracy is not strong enough to protect itself. It needs defense, by force of arms, when necessary. All of us, the newly independent Central Asian countries, are building up democracy, but our democracy is too weak as yet," was the reply.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization had been offering assistance to settle the Kyrgyz crisis. Akayev did not accept the offer - he regarded the developments as a sheer domestic affair.

"It was a domestic political problem, so there was no intervention from without," he explains why he declined a proposal of help as it came from Nikolai Bordyuzha, CSTO Secretary General.

The overthrown president has made many errors, he now acknowledges. "I made many blunders while I was President. I openly referred to them all but I am convinced that my country was following the right road."

The nomination of his son and daughter for parliament was not one of those political blunders, insists Akayev.

"As for my children, such things are the usual practice in the world. Opinions of it are exaggerated. That is one of the myths the opposition is whipping up. My son and daughter received a mandate of the nation's confidence," he stressed.

Rumors of his family "buying up" entire Kyrgyzstan are a pack of lies, he went on. "That is just another myth of the whole country being pocketed by the Akayevs."

Akayev isdetermined to promote his country's progress, wherever he may find himself.

"The Kyrgyz business community is in a bad state. Much has been pilfered. It will be hard to keep our economy unscathed. It is a bad pain to know it all but, wherever I might be, I shall be helping my country and my nation," he firmly said.

Askar Akayev confirmed reports of two appeals he had written and passed to the media: "Right, I e-mailed two appeals to my nation. I had no access to any other mass media, but I always have my laptop with me. I wrote both appeals on my own."

The Kabar news agency was circulating the two appeals - one last Friday and the other yesterday. The agency had no idea whence either had come, it pointed out.

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