Uzbek leader reshuffles security officials, removes veteran defense minister

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev speaks during a news conference following his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin (not pictured) in Moscow's Kremlin, Russia April 5, 2017. REUTERS/Pavel Golovkin/Pool

ALMATY (Reuters) - Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev reshuffled senior security officials on Monday, sacking the defense minister who was a holdover from the previous administration and appointing an ally.

Abdusalom Azizov has replaced Qobul Berdiyev as defense minister, the president’s office said without explaining the reasons for the reshuffle.

Berdiyev had served as the Central Asian nation’s defense minister since 2008, having been appointed by strongman leader Islam Karimov who died last September after running the former Soviet republic for 27 years.

Azizov, on the other hand, has been promoted by Mirziyoyev, who named him interior minister shortly after being elected president last December.

Pulat Bobojonov, previously a regional governor, was named interior minister on Monday.

The reshuffle leaves Rustam Inoyatov, the head of the SNB state security service, as the only Karimov-era senior security official still in office.

Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.