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A U.S. State Department delegation is in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, to help the Turkmen National Institute for Democracy and Human Rights develop legislation for the country to establish democratic institutions.

The coordinator of U.S. assistance to Europe and Eurasia, Daniel Rosenblum, told RFE/RL's Turkmen Service that the proposed legislation should protect nongovernmental organizations, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion.

Rosenblum said the establishment of such laws could facilitate democratic development and help to observe international human rights conventions in Turkmenistan.

The U.S. delegation began its visit on February 23.