YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–In what amounted to an official Armenian recognition of the dramatic regime change in Kyrgyzstan, President Serzh Sarkisian met and congratulated his newly inaugurated Kyrgyz counterpart, Roza Otunbayeva, on Monday.
The meeting marked the first direct contact between official Yerevan and the Central Asian state’s provisional government.
It took place in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on the margins of a summit of the Eurasian Economic Community (Eurasec), a grouping of Russia and four other former Soviet republics. Armenia has an observer status in the bloc.
Sarkisian’s office said the Armenian leader congratulated Otunbayeva on being sworn in as president on Saturday and “wished her success.” “The newly appointed president of Kyrgyzstan presented the political and economic situation in her country as well as her provisional government’s steps aimed at the country’s democratization,” the office said in a statement.
The Regnum news agency cited the new Kyrgyz administration as saying that the two discussed “ways of further expanding and strengthening Kyrgyz-Armenian cooperation” and the two government’s joint efforts “within the framework of international organizations.”
Although both ex-Soviet states are members of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Armenian government had not reacted to the bloody uprising in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek that brought down Otunbayeva’s predecessor, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, in early May.
The chief of the Armenian police, Alik Sargsian, afterwards warned the Armenian opposition against attempting to stage a similar revolt in Yerevan. “I wouldn’t advise anyone to even harbor such thoughts,” he said.
Yerevan has also been silent on last month’s clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan, which left about 300 people dead. Armenian officials did not rule out Armenian involvement in a possible CSTO peacekeeping operation in the area.
However, the Russian-led defense alliance, which set up a NATO-style rapid reaction force last year, eventually decided against sending any troops.