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Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Steps Down, Ambassador To Seoul Seeks Asylum Abroad

Kylychbek Sultan (left) and Erlan Abdyldaev have both been dismissed by President Sooronbai Jeenbekov.
Kylychbek Sultan (left) and Erlan Abdyldaev have both been dismissed by President Sooronbai Jeenbekov.

Kyrgyzstan's longtime foreign minister has left his post amid a standoff with the Central Asian nation's ambassador to South Korea, who was dismissed after alleging corruption in the Foreign Ministry and says he is seeking asylum abroad.

In a statement on the Foreign Ministry website on October 12, Erlan Abdyldaev said that he submitted his resignation after six years as the country's top diplomat and that President Sooronbai Jeenbekov had accepted it.

On the same day, Kylychbek Sultan, the Kyrgyz ambassador to Seoul, wrote on Facebook that he refused to recognize Jeenbekov's government and had asked for political asylum in an unspecified foreign country.

The presidential press service said Jeenbekov had dismissed both Abdyldaev and Sultan of their duties.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) welcomed Abdyldaev's resignation.

HRW Central Asia researcher Steve Swerdlow said in a tweet on October 12 that Abdyldaev's six-year tenure was "marked by crackdowns on NGOs" and other rights violations.

The announcements came a day after the country's Security Council released the results of its investigation into Sultan's allegations of the violation of laws and regulations by the Foreign Ministry.

In September, Sultan accused the ministry of corruption and mishandling of diplomatic passports.

In its statement on October 11, the Security Council said that Sultan's claims were true but that Sultan himself violated some ethical norms and regulations while serving as ambassador to Malaysia in 2014-16.

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