The hope for democracy in Central Asia

Today I met Roza Otunbayeva, President of Kyrgyzstan. I expressed the feeling of many MEPs present saying that she gives true hope of democracy in Central Asia[:], which otherwise is the realm of lifelong dictators. Her country still suffers from the ethnic outburst of violence of last year, but it is great to see at least one head of state in that plagued region who has opened the doors for an independent international investigation into conflict (the investigation is by the way chaired by Kimmo Kiljunen, my good ex-colleague in the Finnish Parliament).

Otunbayeva was totally open to discuss human rights problems, which I have learnt is a sign of a real willingness to reform. She was surprised when I told her that her country was selected in December by EU foreign ministers as one of 12 pilot countries for democracy promotion! This confirmed to me that the selection totally lacked transparency. Nevertheless, we agreed that Kyrgyzstan was happy to get help eg. to build an independent judiciary.