Our ambassador is in regular contact with the authorities in Kyrgyzstan. We are deeply concerned by recent events in that country where the situation remains fragile. Both we and our international partners believe that the political process now under way represents the best chance that we have to ensure peace, the rule of law and democracy for all the people of Kyrgyzstan.
I join the Minister in welcoming the outcome of the 27 June referendum, in which the Kyrgyz clearly outlined their desire for a parliamentary republic and a new constitution. However, will he join me in calling on President Otunbayeva to reduce tensions between the Kurds and Uzbeks by initiating an open and transparent inquiry into the killings in Osh and Jalalabad, and by releasing the Uzbek human rights activist Mr Askarov and the journalist Mr Abdusalomov?
It is precisely because the British Government accept the need for reconciliation between the different communities in Kyrgyzstan that we co-sponsored a resolution on 18 June, at the UN Human Rights Council, calling for a transparent investigation into the events of April and the recent inter-ethnic violence, and urging the Kyrgyz authorities to promote inter-ethnic reconciliation as a key priority.
Has high-level corruption in the political system not been one of the real problems facing Kyrgyzstan since independence? What more can the British Government do, whether through the EU, their own good offices or the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, to promote good governance in this important country in central Asia?
We in the United Kingdom have to accept that there are practical limits to our ability to put right all the problems that my hon. Friend has identified. Nevertheless, the British Government will continue to do all within their power, not just bilaterally but through the various multilateral organisations to which we are party, to bring about reconciliation and a free and stable democracy in that country.
I visited the city of Osh eight years ago, and I have to say it was a desperately poor place. The Minister will recall that five years ago, with the Andijan massacre in Uzbekistan, there were international calls for a full investigation that ultimately came to nothing. Will he reassure us that the calls now for an investigation into the present case will lead to fruition and something proper happening?