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Kyrgyzstan's Trade Minister Resigns

Almazbek Atambaev (file photo) (RFE/RL) BISHKEK, April 21, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyzstan's minister for trade, industry, and tourism has resigned.

In a statement to the press today, Almazbek Atambaev said he is stepping down because of what he sees as the government's failure to cope with corruption and nepotism and implement much-needed reforms.

Atambaev, who is also the chairman of Kyrgyzstan's Social Democrat Party, says he is bitterly disappointed with the policies of the country's new leadership.

He also called on his supporters to stage a peaceful protest rally later this month in Bishkek.

Atambaev last week refused to heed President Kurmanbek Bakiev's calls for all cabinet members to leave their political parties. Bakiev responded by threatening to fire him.

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