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Uzbek Leader Makes Public Appearance Amid Health Rumors

Uzbek President Islam Karimov's (left) meeting with visiting Kazakh Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrisov in Tashkent was shown on state television.
The presidential press service in Uzbekistan says President Islam Karimov has met with visiting Kazakh Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrisov in Tashkent.

The meeting on March 27 would be Karimov's first public appearance since rumors about his poor health emerged a week ago.

Karimov was shown on television dancing during Norouz New Year celebrations in Tashkent on March 19.

But he had not appeared in public since then.

Opposition groups outside Uzbekistan say he has suffered a heart attack.

Karimov's daughter, Gulnara Karimova, has denied those reports.

She wrote on her Twitter account on March 26 that rumors about her father being sick were "attempts to spoil people's lives."

Karimov, 75, is a former Communist Party leader who has ruled his country for almost 25 years.

With reporting by Reuters, Kazinform, Interfax, RIA Novosti, and RFE/RL's Uzbek Service
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