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Swiss to head advisory group in Kyrgyzstan

A Swiss expert has been named to head the Police Advisory Group in Kyrgyzstan established by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

This content was published on August 12, 2010 - 19:48

Markus Müller, who has worked in the Central Asian republic both as director of the Swiss cooperation office and as head of the OSCE mission in the capital, Bishkek, is currently employed by the Swiss foreign ministry, which announced his appointment on Thursday.

European foreign ministers decided last month to set up the group after ethnic riots in the south of the country in June between the Kyrgyz and Uzbek communities left at least 300 people dead and thousands homeless.

The unarmed 52-strong group, which is expected to arrive in early September, is supposed to work with local police to reduce tension between the groups.

Its deployment has been provisionally set at four months.

Protests against the arrival of the group have been mounting in both Osh, the centre of the June riots, and Bishkek.

The demonstrators say they fear the Uzbek population might try to make themselves autonomous. They say the foreign officers will meddle in the investigation of the unrest and their presence will worsen matters.

Even some members of the weak interim Kyrgyz government, in power since the overthrow of president Kurmanbek Bakiyev in April, have come out against the mission.

Elections are due in October.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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