BISHKEK, May 22 (RIA Novosti) – Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev said he saw no reasons to declare populist Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky persona non grata in the central Asian state following his remarks on Kyrgyzstan.
Last week Kyrgyzstan’s parliament voted to recommend their nation’s Foreign Ministry declare Zhirinovsky persona non grata after remarks he made about a deal to cancel Bishkek’s debts to Moscow.
“I saw no definite insult in Zhirinovsky’s words. The main point of his remarks was that debts must be paid. I believe this is a case of making a mountain out of a molehill,” the president said.
Zhirinovsky, speaking earlier at a session of the Russian parliament’s lower house, the State Duma, proposed Kyrgyzstan should give Russia its picturesque Issyk Kul lake in the north of the country, after Moscow agreed to write off Kyrgyzstan’s almost half-billion dollar debt.
Atambayev added that at some of Zhirinovsky’s remarks one could “simply laugh or shrug but not make out of it a problem between the parliaments or two countries.”
Zhirinovsky, leader of the nationalist LDPR party, has a long history of making inflammatory remarks about neighboring states, the Western powers, immigrants and rival politicians.
Last September, during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Kyrgyzstan, Moscow and Bishkek signed a number of deals including an agreement on maintaining Russian military bases in the Central Asian state and on settling Kyrgyzstan’s debt to Russia.