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Top Kazakh Diplomat Visits U.S. In OSCE Role

OSCE Chairman-in-Office Kazakh Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabaev

OSCE Chairman-in-Office Kazakh Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabaev

Kazakh Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabaev begins a three-day U.S. visit today in his role as chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

A ministry spokesman said Saudabaev would meet with U.S. government officials and members of Congress to discuss bilateral relations as well as Astana-Washington ties within the OSCE.

The spokesman said Saudabaev would also speak at a gathering of the U.S. Helsinki Commission and the Atlantic Council think tank.

Meetings with leading U.S. business representatives are also scheduled.

On February 5, Saudabaev is due to speak at the UN Security Council session about Kazakhstan's chairmanship of the OSCE.

Kazakhstan took over the yearlong OSCE chairmanship from Greece in January.

When bidding for the OSCE chair, Kazakhstan pledged to liberalize its laws on elections, the media, and political parties to bring them closer to democratic standards. But human rights organizations claim the changes were mostly cosmetic and that Kazakhstan is unfit to lead an organization devoted to democracy promotion.