Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov dies

World leaders offer praise, condolences.


TASHKENT/WASHINGTON (AA) – Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov died Friday, the country's government has confirmed.

Three days of national mourning have been declared, the Uzbek parliament and government said in a joint statement.

Karimov, 78, had been in intensive care since last Saturday for a cerebral hemorrhage.

Karimov was Uzbekistan’s first and only president following the country's declaration of becoming an independent nation on Aug. 31, 1991. 

Uzbekistan’s Constitution says if the president is unable to discharge his duties, his functions are carried out for a period of three months by the head of the upper house of the Uzbek parliament.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim expressed their condolences to the Uzbek people.

Erdogan pointed out that Uzbekistan has become a key country in the region in recent decades, adding Turkey's cooperation with Uzbekistan would continue along bilateral, regional and international platforms.

Karimov was the first foreign leader to ban the activities of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization, or FETO, in his country following the July 15 defeated coup in Turkey. 

He will be buried Saturday in Samarkand, where he was born in 1938.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tugrul Turkes is expected to attend the funeral as well as Russia's Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin also offered his condolences to Karimov’s family and the people of Uzbekistan. Putin said Karimov was a competent statesman and the real leader of his country.

U.S. President Barack Obama expressed solidarity with people of Uzbekistan over Karimov’s passing.

“This week, I congratulated President Karimov and the people of Uzbekistan on their country’s 25 years of independence,” Obama said in a statement.

Noting that Uzbekistan is about to begin a new chapter in its history, Obama said Washington will remain committed to “its sovereignty, security, and to a future based on the rights of all its citizens.”

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev said he was "in mourning for his friend" with whom he "had been working for 30 years.

"The people of Kazakhstan shares the pain of the people of Uzbekistan," he said in a statement.

He added that Karimov had always been a reliable partner who contributed a lot to the relations between the two countries.


Islam Karimov AA

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