ROUNDUP: Otunbayeva sworn in as Kyrgyz caretaker president
Rosa Otunbayeva was sworn in as caretaker president of Kyrgyzstan on Saturday, the first woman to hold such power in Central Asia, three months after her predecessor Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in a popular uprising, DPA reported.
The 59-year-old took the oath of office at a ceremony in the capital Bishkek, and in her inaugural speech said the country faced its "most dramatic" period and had to work to overcome the "tragedy" of the recent ethnic violence.
"Kyrgyzstan is in the most dramatic phase of its history," she said.
She called for a "politics without illusions" and pledged to work for a new political culture based solely on the rule of law.
"We know that we cannot quickly heal the spiritual wounds," she said in referring to the ethnic violence. The "sole medicine" is dignity and the willingness for acceptance and unity.
Otunbayeva, a former ambassador to Britain and the United States, is to serve as head of a transitional government until the end of 2011, after which she plans to withdraw from politics.
Her next main task is leading the former Soviet republic until its parliamentary elections scheduled for October.
An overwhelming majority of voters in a referendum last weekend voted for a new constitution. The transitional government aims to introduce political reforms in the mountainous nation, which shares a border with China.
Otunbayeva played a leading role in Bakiyev's overthrow, which was followed by ethnic unrest involving Kyrgyz and the Uzbek minority in the south of the country and leaving about 2,000 people dead.
Otunbayeva has blamed the former president's supporters for the violence. She repeatedly called on Russia to send peacekeepers to the south of the country. The Kremlin, however, turned down the request.
In her inaugural speech Saturday she again blamed "dark powers" for the severe violence.
"The state will do everything to overcome the consequences of the tragedy," Otunbayeva said. She promised that those who lost their homes in the unrest would have a roof over their heads by the winter.
According to estimates, in the southern city of Osh, where Otunbayeva was born, some 70 per cent of houses were destroyed in the recent violence. dpa bvi bve ls dms Author: Benedikt von Imhoff.