OSCE chief urges respect for human rights in Kazakhstan
during a tour of four Central Asian republics

Agence France-Presse, 4 June 2001

ASTANA, June 4 (AFP) - The acting head of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Romanian Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana, urged security issues be tackled at the same time as human rights issues during a visit to former Soviet Kazakhstan Monday.

Economic development and boosting regional security "should happen simultaneously with the spread of democracy and the observation of human rights," Geoana was quoted by Interfax as saying.

Some Central Asian leaders have been accused of clamping down on the human rights of their citizens after the region was rocked by Islamic extremist attacks last August.

Geoana was speaking after a meeting with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on the first leg of a tour of four Central Asian republics.

During the meeting Nazabayev called on the OSCE to take a more active role in resolving economic and ecological problems, Interfax reported.

The two sides also discussed the possibility of OSCE participation in resolving transnational problems, such as the fight against terrorism and trafficking of drugs in the Central Asian region.

Regional leaders often call on international organisations to take a more active part in fighting problems that plague Central Asia, such as resurgent Islamic fundamentalism and the smuggling of weapons and narcotics.

The two men also discussed Kazakhstan's cooperation with the OSCE as well as with the European Community and NATO.

Geoana will visit four Central Asian republics, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on a tour expected to center around the promotion of human rights and democracy.

Agence France-Presse, 4 June 2001