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US envoy urges independent probe into Kyrgyzstan unrest

world Updated: Jun 18, 2010 16:29 IST

AFP
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A senior US envoy, on Friday, called for an independent investigation into ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan that have killed nearly 200 people and forced tens of thousands from their homes.

"I think it's important that there be an investigation... but given the large number of ethnic Uzbek refugees here in Uzbekistan whose stories need to be heard, the Kyrgyz investigation needs to be accompanied by an investigation by an independent body," Robert Blake, the US assistant secretary of state for south and central Asian affairs, told AFP during a visit to Uzbekistan.

Blake was in Uzbekistan's border region of Andijan Friday, where the United Nations estimates that more than 100,000 people took refuge following the clashes between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan.

"The government of Uzbekistan has done a terrific job of meeting the needs of the refugees, the most immediate need in the short term is for the government of Kyrgyzstan to stop the violence and with it the flow of refugees," Blake added.