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Yearbook 1999

Kyrgyzstan. According to Countryaah official website, Prime Minister Jumabek Ibraimov passed away in cancer in April, after holding his post for just four months. President Askar Akajev formerly appointed Finance Minister Amangeldij Muralijev as new head of government.

1999 Kyrgyzstan

In August, militant Islamists kidnapped four officials in the Osh region in the south. The hostage was released since the authorities paid the ransom. But then three villages in the same area were besieged by hundreds of Islamists, who probably crossed the border from Tajikistan. The Islamists kidnapped a group including four Japanese geologists, and the hostage crisis forced the Secretary of Defense to resign. Struggles broke out between Kyrgyzstan's army and the Islamists, demanding the release of prisoners in Uzbekistan. Foreign ministers from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan met for a crisis meeting, and in October the four former Soviet republics held military exercise together with Russian troops to train actions against the Islamist guerrilla. The separatists released the Japanese geologists and retreated to Tajikistan. Japan announced that it was moving its gold exploration to quieter areas in the north. Kyrgyzstan is believed to have large gold reserves.

In November, the United States Senate decided to give Kyrgyzstan improved trade conditions in response to what it considered to be progress toward democracy and the market economy. However, the opposition in Kyrgyzstan reported repeated harassment by the authorities. President Akajev visited Denmark in the same month, where he expressed support for Russia's war in Chechnya. According to Akayev, Islamist separatists who had infiltrated his country had been trained in Chechnya.

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