ALMATY (Reuters) - Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has cancelled a visit to Armenia due to a cold, his office said on Wednesday, adding that there were no concerns about his overall health.
The presidential office, which rarely comments on 76-year-old Nazarbayev’s health, made the announcement about him being treated for a cold on Tuesday, suggesting to some it would mean he would not visit Yerevan which will host a Russia-led security bloc meeting this week.
On Tuesday, Nazarbayev’s office said Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev would travel to Armenia instead of him.
Astana’s ties with Yerevan have been strained since April, when during the renewed military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan insisted on holding a meeting of another regional body, the Eurasian Economic Union, outside of Armenia which was due to host it.
Both Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are Turkic-speaking, predominantly Muslim nations. Azerbaijan also tranships a significant share of Kazakh oil exports.
Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Nick Macfie