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Azerbaijan leader purges government

azerbaijan.sm.jpg

July 20, 1996
Web posted at: 5:30 p.m. EDT (2130 GMT)

BAKU, Azerbaijan (CNN) -- In a live broadcast on state television, Azerbaijan President Haydar Aliyev has fired his prime minister, two other cabinet members and other top government officials.

Aliyev complained of economic problems, widespread corruption and slowness in implementing market reforms. Azerbaijan, which gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, has been among the slowest of the former Soviet republics to raise standards of living and implement economic reforms.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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