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Belgium: EU concerned over violent clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan


BRUSSELS, (Xinhua): In reaction to reports of intensifying interethnic fighting in the south of Kyrgyzstan, the European Commission has decided to dispatch a humanitarian expert to the country to assess humanitarian needs and stands ready to mobilize funds.

The official death toll reached 117 with 1,500 hurt, the Health Ministry of this beleaguered former Soviet country, Kyrgystan, which hosts U.S. and Russian military bases, announced early Monday.

"With thousands of civilians massed at the border to flee the country and others who cannot leave their homes due to ongoing fighting we have to be ready to react to the humanitarian situation that may arise," said Kristalina Georgieva, commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response.

"We are monitoring the evolution of the events and if need be, the European Union stands ready to mobilize humanitarian funds at short notice," he said over the weekend after the Uzbek Red Cross reports that at least 6,000 people seem to have fled or are fleeing to neighboring Uzbekistan.

While some are Uzbek citizens, many of them are Kyrgyz nationals seeking refuge from the fighting in their home region. An expert with the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department will be dispatched from Tajikistan to assess the humanitarian situation as it develops.

Meanwhile, European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek has also expressed his deep concern over the violent clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan.

"I call on all involved in the violence to stop immediately and allow the people living in Osh and the surrounding region to return to normal life," Buzek said, appealing for calm and support for the provisional interim government of the Kyrgyz Republic in its work to urgently restore public order.

Editor: Liu

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