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Azerbaijani President Urges Fight Against 'Wounds Of Sleaze'

Aliyev: Sleaze is a 'wound' that must be 'cured.'
Aliyev: Sleaze is a 'wound' that must be 'cured.'
BAKU -- Azerbaijan's president has called for more vigilance in the fight against corruption and urged people to help heal what he called the "wounds" of sleaze, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

In a visit to the western regions of Qazakh and Tovuz on February 9, President Ilham Aliyev said the anticorruption directives he gave early this year at a cabinet session were being implemented.

But he called for the antigraft fight to be conducted more fiercely, asking citizens to contribute to this campaign "for the wounds to be soon cured."

Aliyev advised citizens to inform the president's administration and local officials of all "unpleasant cases" in order for them to be dealt with quickly.

Aliyev also hailed the government's efforts to improve living standards, saying poverty rates had dropped and that 900,000 jobs had been created over the past seven years -- 700,000 of them permanent. He added, though, that unemployment remains a problem.

During his visit, Aliyev opened several facilities including a park, a palace, an Olympic Complex, and a milk factory.

Ramiz Mehdiyev, the head of the presidential administration, convened an anticorruption commission on January 27, after which several ministries held sessions devoted to corruption.

Several officials and public servants have been sacked as part of the drive.