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Azerbaijan: Ambassador To Turkey Again Says That President Not Near Death

Ankara, 24 July 2003 (RFE/RL)-- Azerbaijan's ambassador to Turkey held a press conference today to quell rumors that Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev is near death. The 80-year-old Aliyev has been in Turkey since 8 July receiving medical treatment at the Gulhane military hospital. Aliyev was also in Turkey for medical treatment in early May after he collapsed during a speech in late April.

President Aliyev has a history of heart trouble, including bypass surgery in 1999.

Azerbaijani Ambassador to Turkey Mamed Aliyev said at today's press conference that President Aliev's situation is "normal." He said the president is not in an intensive-care unit as had been rumored, that he has no dangerous illness and that the president "will certainly return to our country."