Bakiyev Says His Health Is Good After German Tests

ReutersBakiyev speaking to journalists upon arriving in Bishkek on Friday.
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev returned from more than three weeks in Germany saying he had undergone medical treatment but was in good health.

Bakiyev's prolonged absence had prompted rumors of serious health problems after officials had said on March 3 that he had departed for a short vacation in Germany, without mentioning the need to undergo treatment.

Speaking on arrival in the capital, Bishkek, Bakiyev, 58, said he initially planned to spend two weeks abroad but decided to undergo a physical check as his joints had been giving him problems.

"I feel very well, and even better now," he told reporters. "The doctors told me, 'If you want to live an active lifestyle, you must undergo treatment.'"

The Central Asian state has been volatile since 2005 when mass riots, triggered by flawed parliamentary elections, toppled long-serving leader Askar Akayev and brought Bakiyev to power.

Bakiyev tightened his grip last year by dissolving the Akayev-era parliament and calling snap elections. His own Ak Zhol party won most seats in elections criticized by the opposition and Western monitors.