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Last Updated: Monday, 14 November 2005, 19:38 GMT
Kazakh 'challenge' to Ali G star
Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat Sagdiyev
Cohen played the Kazakh TV host role at the MTV Europe Awards
Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is reported to be facing possible legal action over his spoof Kazakhstan TV host character Borat Sagdiyev.

In his act, the British star best known for his Ali G character, has portrayed the central Asian country as a nation of drunks who are cruel to animals.

The Kazakh Foreign Ministry said it may move to prevent Cohen presenting the country in a "derogatory way".

The comments come after Cohen hosted the MTV Europe Music Awards in Lisbon.

He adopted the Borat role for the appearance - a performance that included an arrival in an "Air Kazakh" propeller plane flown by a pilot holding a vodka bottle.

'Utterly unacceptable'

Cohen's Borat character first surfaced in the Ali G Show on Channel 4 in the UK.

Kazakh foreign ministry spokesman Yerzhan Ashykbayev did not detail what form any action might take.

But speaking to journalists at a news briefing in capital Astana, he said: "We do not rule out that Mr Cohen is serving someone's political order designed to present Kazakhstan and its people in a derogatory way."

He said Kazakhstan reserves the right to take legal action to "prevent new pranks of the kind".

Mr Ashykbayev described the comedian's MTV appearance as "utterly unacceptable, being a concoction of bad taste and ill manners which is completely incompatible with ethics and civilised behaviour".

A spokesman for the Kazakhstan Embassy in London said he could not immediately confirm the report from the Reuters news agency.

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