Kyrgyz unrest instigated from outside -Uzbek leader
BISHKEK, June 19 (Reuters) - Uzbek President Islam Karimov accused "outside" elements on Saturday of instigating a wave of unrest in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan and said neither ethnic Uzbeks nor Kyrgyz were responsible for starting it.
His remarks echoed those by Kyrgyzstan's interim leadership which has blamed the country's deposed and exiled president of masterminding the violence that broke out last week.
"Neither Uzbeks nor Kyrgyz are to blame for this," Karimov was quoted as saying by the official Uza news agency. "These disruptive actions were organised and managed from outside.
"Forces that organised this subversive act tried to drag Uzbekistan into this standoff."
Kyrgyzstan, a complicated patchwork of clans and ethnic groups, has been volatile since a revolt in April ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who is now in exile in Belarus.
Historically there has been a strong rivalry between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz but many residents and observers on the ground say Bakiyev loyalists who stayed behind are playing on ethnic divisions to regain strength.
Bakiyev has strongly denied any involvement in the events.
His departure triggered fierce competition among clans and criminal groups in the south of the Central Asian nation lying on a major drug-trafficking route out of nearby Afghanistan.
Uza reported that Karimov spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by telephone on Friday to discuss the situation.
"They ... exchanged views on ways out of this difficult situation and first of all on how to stabilise Kyrgyzstan as quickly as possible," Uza reported.
(Writing by Maria Golovnina; editing by Michael Roddy)
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