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TURKMENISTAN - Dec. 22 - Uzbekistan Ambassador Expelled.

Uzbekistan's Ambassador Abdurashid Kadyrov, accused of aiding former FM Boris Shikhmuradov in an assassination attempt on Pres. Saparmurat Niyazov, is expelled from the country. (The move significantly raises tensions between the two former Soviet Central Asian states and threatens the fragile stability of the region). Kadyrov is said to have harboured Shikhmuradov in his residence and then helped him escape the country. Shikhmuradov is accused by Ashgabad officials of masterminding an attack on Niyazov's motorcade in November which was supposed to have led to a coup d'etat. The authorities searched the Uzbek Embassy last week. Uzbek officials in Tashkent called the act a "gross violation" of international norms and said the accusations were "absolutely unfounded". But Turkmen Foreign Ministry declared that Ambassador Kadyrov was involved in "activities incompatible with the high status of a diplomat" and gave him 24 hours to leave the country. (Niyazov, who calls himself "Turkmenbashi", or "Father of the Turkmens", has built neo-Stalinist culture, complete with a bizarre personality cult devoted to his glorification. The Turkmen leader's likeness graces government buildings, public parks and the country's banknotes. At the same time, Niyazov has cut the country off from the outside world and strictly controls the number of foreign citizens crossing its borders. Now in the aftermath of the alleged assassination bid, officials claim outside forces conspired to topple the government. Of 46 individuals so far arrested, 17 were foreigners, officials say. Russia, Azerbaijan and Turkey are also said to have assisted the coup plotters. A US citizen, Leonid Komarovsky, was also arrested and read an emotional confession on Turkmen television last week, asking for the Turkmen leader's forgiveness for having provided mobile phones to the would-be assassins. On Dec. 19, Douglas Davidson, the US representative to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, said reports indicated that confessions had been "extracted by torture").
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Geographic Code:9UZBE
Date:Dec 31, 2002
Words:308
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