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Kazakhstan Interested in Cooperation With US to Promote Democracy

BBC

October 17, 2006

Astana, 16 October: Kazakhstan is interested in cooperation with the (US) National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) as part of the implementation of democratic reforms in the country, the Kazakh Security Council secretary and the president's [Nursultan Nazarbayev's] aide, Marat Tazhin, has said.

Tazhin met the NDI president, Kenneth Wollack, and the IRI president, Lorne Craner, in Astana today, a press release circulated by the [Kazakh] presidential press service says.

"At the meeting, Tazhin emphasized that Kazakhstan was interested in the activities of the NDI and the IRI in terms of their assistance in democratic reforms in the country," the press release says.

In addition, "at the meeting, [the sides] discussed the topical issues of the development of democracy, the formation of civil society institutions and the constitutional regulation of NGOs' activities ", the press release says.

Tazhin noted at the meeting that since the early years of its independence, Kazakhstan prioritized economic reform which made it possible to avoid social upheavals and resolve serious social problems, the press release says.

Tazhin also said that after the resolution of socioeconomic problems, main areas of the country's political modernization had been defined. They are expanding the role and powers of the parliament; ensuring the independence and efficiency of the judiciary; tackling corruption; creating local government system; introducing the system of the elected heads of local administrations and town mayors; and promoting political parties, the media and NGOs.

"These areas of political modernization are being implemented within the framework of the state commission for drawing up and defining a national programme of democratic reforms headed by the country's president. Political parties, MPs and senators, trade unions, prominent state and public figures are taking part in the work of this commission," the press release says.

Source: Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency, Almaty, in Russian 1353 gmt 16 Oct 06

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