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Iran’s Rouhani offers condolences over Uzbek president’s death

3 September 2016 14:32

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has offered his condolences over the death of his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov.

In a message to Uzbekistan’s acting President Nigmatilla Yuldashev on Friday, Rouhani expressed his sympathy to him, Karimov’s family, and the Uzbek government and nation over the president’s demise.

In a joint statement, the Uzbekistan government and parliament confirmed on Friday evening the death of president Karimov after many such reports earlier in the day.

It added that Karimov would be buried in the southeastern city of Samarkand on Saturday according to Muslim traditions, saying he was a “truly great” figure.

The statement said Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev had been appointed as the head of the commission for organizing the funeral ceremony.

In a televised meeting with his cabinet, Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildırım confirmed reports that the Uzbek president had suffered a fatal stroke earlier this week and said, “May God’s mercy be upon him.”

Reuters had also cited three diplomats as confirming Karimov’s death. “Yes, he has died,” one of the diplomatic sources told the news agency.

A top Kyrgyz diplomat and an Afghan government official had also said earlier on Friday Uzbekistan would hold a funeral for the late president on Saturday.

The president had been expected to appear publicly on Thursday to mark the 25th anniversary of the Central Asian country’s independence from the Soviet Union. Later in the day, officials said a concert that was usually attended by Karimov and other state officials had been cancelled.

Karimov (seen below), who had been in power since 1990, has not named a successor. The head of Uzbekistan’s Senate would run the country after his death for three months until new elections.

Meanwhile, Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili also expressed condolences over Karimov’s death.

“We express our deep condolences over the death of Uzbek President Islam Karimov. Islam Karimov led his country in the most difficult period of its history and under his leadership Uzbekistan achieved significant development, state building and prosperity,” a statement on the Georgian presidential website said.

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