Kazakh president has prostate op in Germany: report

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Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has had a prostate operation in the north German city of Hamburg, the Bild daily reported on Wednesday.

The 71-year-old had been in the port city since July 10 and was operated on by a Dutch specialist at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, the tabloid said.

On Tuesday Bild had reported that Nazarbayev "secretly" checked himself into the clinic, and was being guarded by a heavy security detail.

Contacted by AFP, a hospital spokeswoman declined to comment, saying she could neither confirm nor deny that Nazarbayev was there. She added however that the clinic had undertaken "no special security measures."

A Kazakh foreign ministry spokesman told AFP: "The president is currently on holiday" but without saying where.

A statement dated July 11 on the presidential website akorda.kz said the holiday was "brief" but also gave no details.

No further news has been published on the website since, except a statement of condolence on July 12 for the Volga cruise ship tragedy in Russia.

Nazarbayev's chief advisor Yermukhamet Yertysbayev, contacted by AFP, declined to comment.

The Bild report also said that the German foreign ministry had acted as a mediator in having the energy-rich Central Asian republic's president admitted to the clinic.

Contacted by AFP, however, the ministry denied this and said it was unaware of Nazarbayev being in Hamburg.

Kazakh Foreign Minister Erzhan Kazykhanov was to meet Wednesday with his German opposite number Guido Westerwelle and a press conference was scheduled for late morning.

Nazarbayev came under strong criticism from international observers in April after he won re-election with a reported 95 percent of the vote.

© 2011 AFP

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