Kyrgyzstan supports the idea of solving the Iraqi crisis by peaceful means, Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev told a conference he gave in Bishkek jointly with Slovak President Rudolf Schuster, who had come to the country for an official visit.
According to Akayev, Kyrgyzstan is just as worried as the world community about the possibility of Iraq having or planning to produce weapons of mass destruction. "We are satisfied with the fact that the problem is being solved," he said.
In his opinion, this shows that "there is still an opportunity to disarm Iraq by peaceful means." Akayev also said the base used by the forces of the anti-terrorist coalition at Bishkek's Manas Airport would not be used to conduct military action against Iraq. "The base was set up in accordance with a UN mandate for the purpose of supporting the counter-terrorist operation in Afghanistan and lending humanitarian aid to the Afghan people" and has no other purposes, he stressed.
On his part, Schuster announced that his country supported the position the USA held on the Iraqi problem, and said he believed the States had "confidential information about what is really happening in Iraq." Upon his arrival in Bishkek, Schuster held a number of meetings with the country's leaders. He also intends to meet with the local Slovak diaspora and visit the Kyrgyz State University, where he will be given the title of an Honorary Professor.
A school student is believed to be the person who set fire to the wooden church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (built in the 18th century)