In the latest fit of pique in a seemingly unending diplomatic row, Kyrgyzstan is going through the motions of formally rejecting a $100 million aid package offered to it by Kazakhstan.
Speaking to the parliament’s budget and finances committee, Kyrgyz deputy prime minister Duishenbek Zilaliyev said on October 23 that Kazakhstan had long delayed the promised payment and that the funds were no longer needed.
“We planned to build veterinary labs with this money. But we didn’t wait around and went ahead and built 18 laboratories with funds from our own budget,” Zilaliyev said, adding that further facilities would also be completed without Kazakhstan’s help. “Of course it will be hard, but if we don’t respect ourselves, then nobody will respect us, so we have decided to scrap the [aid] agreement.”
The intention to turn down the aid package was flagged up by outgoing President Almazbek Atambayev, who has for weeks been engaged in a war of words with Kazakhstani officials over claims that the government in Astana was backing a candidate opposed to his own preferred man in the October 15 presidential election.
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