September 20, 2016 / 6:17 AM / 2 years ago

Kyrgyz president may return to work in Oct after medical check: office

BISHKEK (Reuters) - Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, under investigation for potential heart problems, may return to work after Oct. 1, his office said on Tuesday, playing down concerns about the 60-year-old leader’s health.

Kyrgyzstan's President Almazbek Atambayev addresses a news conference in Berlin, April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

The impoverished, mostly Muslim nation of six million has been politically volatile for over a decade. Violent protests in 2005 and 2010 toppled two successive presidents. Atambayev has pledged to step down when his term ends in December 2017.

Atambayev’s spokesman said he was staying at a hotel in Istanbul and had no plans to move to a hospital.

Atambayev abruptly canceled a trip to the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Monday after suffering chest pains during the first leg of his flight and his office said doctors would examine him for potential heart problems.

News of Atambayev’s health problems came less than a month after another Central Asian leader, Uzbek President Islam Karimov, died from a stroke at the age of 78.

Separately, Atambayev’s chief of staff, Farid Niyazov, told Reuters he had spoken to the president by telephone earlier on Tuesday and described his condition as satisfactory.

Atambayev, who has run the formerly Soviet Central Asian republic since 2011, had previously displayed no obvious signs of poor health.

Reporting by Olga Dzyubenko; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Maria Kiselyova and Ralph Boulton

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