Kazakhstan’s founding president’s press secretary Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Saturday the former leader was in the capital Nur-Sultan, denying rumors he left the Central Asian country following unrest. unprecedented.
Spokesman Aidos Ukibay said on Twitter that Nazarbayev was in “direct contact” with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, whom Nazarbayev chose as his successor after his resignation in 2019.
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Nazarbayev “calls on everyone to rally around the President of Kazakhstan to overcome the current challenges and ensure the integrity of the country,” Ukibay said.
He also called for not disseminating “knowingly false and speculative information”, possibly referring to unconfirmed reports that Nazarbayev had fled the country.
The 81-year-old former Kazakh leader has not made a public appearance since protests began earlier this week, which escalated into violence.
Much of the anger seemed to be directed against Nazarbayev, who had ruled Kazakhstan since 1989 before handing over power, but who is generally believed to retain control behind the scenes.
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