Alyaksandr Lukashenka has dismissed the possibility that he would grant an extradition request for ousted Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev who has taken refuge in Belarus after being overthrown in a violent uprising last month.
In an interview with Reuters on Tuesday, the Belarusian leader said that no extradition request for Mr. Bakiyev had been officially sent to Belarus.
"But I want to immediately declare officially: Such an appeal would be hopeless and humiliating for the interim government [in Kyrgyzstan]," he said. "The president of Kyrgyzstan is under the protection of the Belarusian state and its president."
"They have 1000 problems, do they need a 1,001st problem? If the current president of Kyrgyzstan appears there, it will be such a problem," Mr. Lukashenka stressed. "The interim government of Kyrgyzstan should bow to the ground and thank me for removing the 1,001st problem for Kyrgyzstan. The situation there is under very little control as it is."
"As for Russia, I think that for the Russian Federation the fact that I have taken in Bakiyev is a joy and means one less headache," he said.
He said that he had no evidence of whether Russia had behind the unrest in Kyrgyzstan, but Russian politicians` statements caused "concern.""Russia and the West create a terrible precedent when they support an illegal government that came to power through bloodshed," he warned.
The interim authorities in Kyrgyzstan on April 27 called for the deposed president to be extradited from Belarus to face trial for allegedly sanctioning gunfire on a crowd of protesters.
The interim government said that it had charged Mr. Bakiyev with "mass killing" and formally prepared an extradition request.
Mr. Bakiyev fled Kyrgyzstan after being overthrown amid violent clashes between government troops and demonstrators in early April. At least 85 people were killed in the chaos.