Kyrgyz interim leader thanks Russia

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Kyrgyzstan's interim leader has thanked Russia for "significant support" in exposing what she called the crimes of the previous regime.

Opposition leader Roza Otunbayeva spoke to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin by telephone soon after declaring she had taken power from President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Mr Putin was the first world leader to recognise Mrs Otunbayeva as leader of Kyrgyzstan. She said she plans to fly to Moscow with her deputy to speak to the Russian leader.

A senior Russian official said Bakiyev had not fulfilled a promise to close a US base in Kyrgyzstan, and Moscow would advise the new government there should be only one military base in the former Soviet state - a Russian one.

The United States said on Thursday that it had not decided about the legitimacy of Mrs Otunbayeva's government. Its airbase in Kyrgyzstan supports Nato operations in Afghanistan.

Putin earlier denied Moscow had played a hand in the clashes, and Mrs Otunbayeva said the new government would allow the US base in the Kyrgyz city of Manas to continue to operate, while adding that "some questions" over it would be resolved.

Mr Bakiyev announced the base would close during a visit to Moscow last year at which he also secured $2 billion in crisis aid, only to agree later to keep the base open at a higher rent.

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