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Kazakh Opposition Leader Meets With Poland's Walesa

15 April 2005 -- A leader of the banned Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan party, Asylbek Kozhakhmetov, met today in the Polish city of Gdansk with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lech Walesa.

Kozhakhmetov said Walesa, who spearheaded the Solidarity trade union movement in the 1980s and later became his nation's president, was a symbol of democratic transformation.

Kozhakhmetov said it was the sort of transformation that Kazakhstan's opposition is hoping to see in their nation. Walesa, who is due to travel to Armenia next week, said he might also stop in Kazakhstan.

The Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan party was the largest opposition party in Kazakhstan until legal proceedings shut it down late last year just months after parliamentary elections. It was unclear when Kozhakhmetov arrived in Poland.