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|Tuesday, July 10, 2001, updated at 09:24(GMT+8)|
Turkmen President Fires Foreign Minister for DrunkennessTurkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov has fired his foreign minister for drinking too much, the state's national television reported Sunday.
"Batyr Berdiyev is a nice guy but he drinks too much alcohol. He drinks too much and it affects his duties. It is not compatible with the post of foreign minister," Niyazov said on national television.
Speaking during a meeting of parliamentary deputies and ministry representatives, Niyazov said Berdiyev had failed to heed his repeated warnings to give up drinking.
Berdiyev said he accepted the criticism and regretted that he had failed to live up to the president's trust in him.
Berdiyev, the fifth senior minister to be fired in Turkmenistan this year, will be replaced by Rashid Meredov, formerly head of this mostly desert nation's parliament.
Niyazov has absolute control in Turkmenistan, where he is president for life.
He is also the prime minister, army supreme commander and head of the country's only registered political party, the Democratic Party, which is the renamed version of the Soviet-era Communist Party.
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