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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 March, 2005, 20:01 GMT 21:01 UK
Ousted Kyrgyz leader 'would quit'
Ousted Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev
Askar Akayev had insisted there was no reason for him to resign
Kyrgyzstan's ousted President Askar Akayev says he is prepared to resign if he is given "relevant guarantees".

Speaking to Russian state TV, he said he was willing to step down if Kyrgyz law was "totally respected".

The statement contrasts with earlier comments on Russian radio, when he said he was the "sole legitimate president".

Mr Akayev fled Kyrgyzstan last week, when opposition supporters seized control following protests over recent parliamentary elections.

He told the radio station that he was now in Russia, staying in the country as a guest of President Vladimir Putin.

In his first public comments since being ousted last Thursday, Mr Akayev kept his critics guessing with what appear to be contradictory statements, the BBC's Ian MacWilliam reports from Bishkek.

'Not legitimate'

Mr Akayev's administration was swept from power when thousands of anti-government demonstrators stormed the presidential palace.

The huge protests were sparked by elections last month, which were widely seen as fraudulent.

The new leadership in Bishkek wants Mr Akayev to resign formally, so there is no longer a question about their legal authority, says our correspondent in the Kyrgyz capital.

It seems increasingly likely that the ousted president will eventually meet representatives of Kyrgyzstan's new leadership to settle the legal question of the presidency, our correspondent adds.

In an earlier interview with Echo of Moscow radio station, Mr Akayev said the newly installed parliament was the only legally elected body in Kyrgyzstan.

"The interim government is not legitimate," he said, referring to the new leaders who had taken power on his departure.

He said he was prepared to negotiate with the new parliament, but would only hold talks with its speaker, Omurbek Tekebayev.

Mr Tekebayev responded, saying he too was willing to take part in negotiations, but only with the backing of parliament, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.

In his radio interview, Mr Akayev made no direct mention of Kurmanbek Bakiev, who has been appointed both acting prime minister and acting president since Mr Akayev's departure.

Mr Bakiev has said he wants to hold presidential elections in three months' time, but Mr Tekebayev says such a vote can only be held after talks with Mr Akayev.

Askar Akayev says he has no plans to stand again


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