Kyrgyz prime minister says someone wanted to poison him

Kyrgyzstan Materials 22 May 2007 15:12 (UTC +04:00)

( RIA Novosti ) - Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almaz Atambayev said Tuesday somebody tried to kill him with poison almost two weeks ago in his office.

"I was poisoned on May 11 in my office," Atambayev said, adding that on that day he drank a glass of water and soon after he lost consciousness for two days.

Atambayev, a liberal opposition leader, was appointed the new premier in March by incumbent President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to form a coalition government on the eve of opposition rallies and avoid a looming political crisis in the Central Asian country.

But members of the opposition have refused to join the coalition, saying it would make little, if any, difference, and upheld their demand for early presidential elections.

Atambayev, 50, earlier said that he had received several threats against his life, and media reported that he looked ill during recent appearances in public.

The premier said the threats intensified following the Kyrgyz government approval of a bill that would nationalize the Kristall microcrystalline silicon plant.

"I am certain it was an attempt to poison me. I had to undergo blood detoxifying procedures for two weeks," the prime minister said.

"I feel a little better now," Atambayev said, adding that even an attempt on his life would not force him to step down as Kyrgyz prime minister.

"I do not like to be intimidated," he said.

Meanwhile, a Cabinet spokesman said Atambayev never filed a statement with the police regarding his alleged poisoning, while parliament speaker Marat Sultanov told journalists that the premier should undergo medical examination and if the poisoning attempt is confirmed parliament would initiate a criminal investigation into the incident.

"To simply allege that he was poisoned is not right, I believe," Suiltanov said in the Kyrgyz capital Tuesday.