Lukashenko extends jubilee greetings to Kyrgyz ex-president Bakiyev who lives in Belarus
MINSK. Aug 6 (Interfax) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko held a meeting with former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev on Tuesday, the Belarusian presidential press service said.
The reason for the meeting was Bakiyev's 70th birthday, which he celebrated several days ago, the press service said.
"The Belarusian leader warmly congratulated Kurmanbek Bakiyev at the Palace of Independence and presented symbolic gifts to him, including the picture called "The hunting of nomads with a golden eagle," which is a collective image, which combined national peculiarities and the ethnic specifics of the Kyrgyz people. A steppe eagle, also known as golden eagle, is a special symbol in the world view of nomads. The president also presented a dagger and a bunch of Belarusian flowers to Bakiyev marking his jubilee," the statement said.
"This is my country [...] Horses and golden eagles," Bakiyev said, commenting on the picture.
"Your country and your nature. This bird is proud and looks like you," Lukashenko said.
The former Kyrgyz president thanked the Belarusian head of state for his gifts.
After delivering birthday greetings Lukashenko and Bakiyev held a working meeting, at which they have discussed pressing issues.
Former Kyrgyz President Bakiyev fled the country after the state authorities were replaced in the republic in April 2010 and lives in Belarus since then. His younger brother and former head of the presidential security service Janybek Bakiyev is also staying in Belarus.
The brothers are in absentia convicted in Kyrgyzstan on the charges of committing heinous crimes. Former President Bakiyev is sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment with his property seized, while his brother is sentenced to life.
According to unofficial reports, former Kyrgyz president's senior son Marat Bakiyev, who has held a high post in the republican special service until April 2010, is also staying in Belarus. He was sentenced for his involvement in suppressing the rally on April 7, 2010. The court in absentia sentenced him to 22 years' imprisonment.
Kyrgyzstan has been seeking the Bakiyevs' extradition over the last few years, while Belarus declines to extradite them under the pretext of a threat of political prosecution in their homeland.
Belarusian and Kyrgyz media are issuing reports from time to time that former President Bakiyev and his family live in Minsk, where they are allegedly running a business.