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Former Uzbek Envoy To U.S. Moved To Foreign Ministry

First Deputy Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov

First Deputy Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov

TASHKENT -- Former Uzbek Ambassador to the United States Abdulaziz Komilov has been appointed first deputy foreign minister, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

Komilov, 62, was foreign minister from 1994-2003 and served as ambassador in Washington from October 2003 to January 2010.

Komilov will replace Hamidullah Karamatov, who was named ambassador to Japan in December.

The Uzbek Foreign Ministry made the announcement on January 20. Moscow-based political analyst Vladimir Pribylovsky told RFE/RL that Komilov's appointment could signal that he is a potential successor to President Islam Karimov.

Pribylovsky said Komilov was a KGB general and worked for that organization in Lebanon in the 1970s.

Komilov's wife Gulnora is the daughter of former Uzbek Communist Party leader Sharof Rashidov, a once-powerful official in Uzbekistan. Another daughter of Rashidov, Sayora Rashidova, is the Uzbek ombudsman.