BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan – Kyrgyzstan's ousted President Askar Akayev (search) said Tuesday he was prepared to resign if given adequate legal protections.
Speaking in an interview broadcast on Russia's state-run Channel One television, Akayev was asked by a reporter whether he was prepared to step down early.
"Of course, of course -- if I am given the relevant guarantees and if it is in full accordance with the current legislation of Kyrgyzstan," said Akayev, who fled Kyrgyzstan (search)after opposition protesters seized his headquarters last Thursday and toppled his government.
Akaeyev, who spoke calmly, dressed in a suit and tie and sitting in what appeared to be a hotel room, did not indicate what legislation he was referring to, though it appeared to be a reference to the law on presidential immunity, which interim leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev (search) has said remains in force.
In an interview earlier with the Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy, Akayev said that he had no plans to resign but suggested he might be prepared to do so in order to give legitimacy to a new leader. He also confirmed in the radio interview that he was in Russia, outside Moscow.
"I will surely return (to Kyrgyzstan)," Akayev told Ekho Moskvy. "I have the desire to help so that the newly elected president is legitimate."
Kyrgyzstan is now set to hold a new presidential election June 26. Akayev's comments suggested he would seek to maintain influence in Kyrgyz politics ahead of the vote.
The two interviews came five days after protesters stormed government buildings in the capital of the impoverished Central Asian country, sending Akayev and his family fleeing and sparking looting and scattered violence.
Also in the television interview, Akayev charged that the people who rushed and ransacked the government building last Thursday were paid. He did say who they were paid by.
"This had nothing to do with democracy. They were certainly all paid and organized and they were told to storm the government headquarters," he told Channel One.
Akayev said he considers Omurbek Tekebayev -- currently the speaker of the new parliament -- to be the country's legitimate leader.
He said he does not have confidence in the statements from Bakiyev and the chief of the country's law enforcement agencies, Felix Kulov, offering him immunity and security if he returns.
He said he would return to Kyrgyzstan if parliament offered him "personal safety guarantees."