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OSCE Head Due In Tajikistan

19 April 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is due in Tajikistan today, the latest stop of a three-nation tour of Central Asia.

Dimitrij Rupel -- who also serves as Slovenia's foreign minister -- will discuss democratic reforms with Tajik officials.

Yesterday, Rupel was in Kyrgyzstan, where he called for fair and free presidential elections. He said Kyrgyz officials assured him this would happen.

"Of course everybody expects the [Kyrgyz presidential] elections of the 10th of July to be much better than any elections in the past, maybe, as one of my interlocutors today has said, the best elections of Central Asia," Rupel said.

The elections are being held to pick a replacement for Askar Akaev who resigned after fleeing Kyrgyzstan on 24 March when protesters -- angered over vote rigging -- stormed government offices in the capital Bishkek.

Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov has said the political instability in Kyrgyzstan could lead to instability in the region.

Rupel is scheduled to travel to Turkmenistan tomorrow.

(Kyrgyz Service)