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    Kyrgyz crisis caused by domestic "drug wars" — Russian official

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    The current political crisis in Kyrgyzstan was caused by a power struggle between domestic drug clans.

    The current political crisis in Kyrgyzstan was caused by a power struggle between domestic drug clans, the head of Russia's Federal Drug Control Service said.

    "Existing evidence clearly indicates that the former Kyrgyz leadership had a tight control over drug-trafficking in the country, which angered other [domestic] drug barons who believed they were being deprived of their share in the profits [from the illicit drug trade]," Viktor Ivanov said in an interview with Echo Moskvy radio station on Monday.

    Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted as president amid April's opposition protests in Kyrgyzstan and has taken refuge in Belarus.

    The Kyrgyz interim authorities, led by Roza Otunbayeva, have accused Bakiyev of abuse of office and corruption during his presidency and the shooting of civilians during the April unrest.

    The former president has also been blamed for orchestrating the recent interethnic riots in the Central Asian republic that, according to official data, have claimed the lives of around 300 people.

    Clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks, who account for about 15% of Kyrgyzstan's population, broke out in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh on June 11, lasting several days and spreading to nearby Jalalabad.

    Osh region, which borders Tajikistan, is a major gateway for drug trafficking from Afghanistan, where 90% of the world's opium is produced.

    Ivanov said drug barons were interested in having politicians at the reigns of power who would help them "stuff their pockets with money."

    "They need power to make even more profit from the illicit drug trade as well as from the semi-legitimate, "shadow" economy," the official said.

    Kyrgyzstan held a referendum on a new Constitutionon Sunday.

    According to preliminary results of the referendum, some 91% of voters approved amendments to the Constitution, whereas about 8% voted against it. Total turnout was around 70% of all registered voters.

    The referendum on the new Constitution envisions a converting Kyrgyzstan from a presidental to a parliamentary republic.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev expressed doubts on Sunday that the model of a parliamentary republic would work in Kyrgyzstan.

    Speaking at a briefing after the G8 and G20 summits in Canada, he said the change was an internal affair but warned that the situation in the country could cause endless realignments of the political forces in the parliament.


    MOSCOW, June 29 (RIA Novosti)


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