After Publicly Backing Ukraine's Sovereignty, Uzbek FM Steps down
By RFE/RL's Uzbek Service April 28, 2022
TASHKENT -- Weeks after publicly supporting Ukraine's territorial integrity, Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov has left his post.
Uzbek presidential spokesman Sherzod Asadov said on April 27 that Komilov left the post of foreign minister to move to another job -- deputy secretary of the presidential Security Council.
According to Asadov, Vladimir Norov was appointed as first deputy foreign minister and will be the acting foreign minister of the Central Asian country. Norov served as Uzbekistan's foreign minister from 2006 to 2010.
Komilov abruptly disappeared from public view immediately after he told lawmakers in a speech on March 17 that Uzbekistan did not recognize the Moscow-backed separatist-controlled districts in Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions, known as the Donbas.
He also called for a "peaceful solution" to the unprovoked attack on Ukraine by Russia, considered an ally of Uzbekistan.
"Firstly, the military actions and violence must be stopped right away. The Republic of Uzbekistan recognizes Ukraine's independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. We do not recognize the Luhansk and Donetsk republics," Komilov said in the speech, emphasizing that his country had historic ties both with Ukraine and Russia.
Komilov also said that the Uzbek government was working on ways to prevent any possible local impact on the Uzbek economy from international sanctions imposed on Russia over its aggression against Ukraine.
Four days later, the Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Uzbek counterpart, Shavkat Mirziyoev, discussed among other things the situation in Ukraine, stressing that the Uzbek president expressed his "understanding of the Russian side's position and activities" in Ukraine.
On March 29, the Uzbek Foreign Ministry said Komilov had not been seen in public for more than a week because he was being treated for an unspecified "chronic illness" in Tashkent before being taken to an unspecified foreign country for further treatment.
Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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