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Kazakh Leader Cautious On Quick Democratic Reforms

President Nazarbaev (file photo) 30 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has reiterated his warning against making "hasty" political reforms in Kazakhstan.

Speaking today in the Kazakh capital Astana at a conference marking the 10th anniversary of the constitution, Nazarbaev said unprepared radical political reforms could destabilize the economic, social, and political fabric of the nation.

Nazarbaev also said that political pluralism is guaranteed in Kazakhstan, which he said is confirmed by the existence of nongovernmental organizations and independent media in the country.

Washington has urged Nazarbaev to follow up economic achievements with democratic reforms.

Rights advocates accuse Nazarbaev of persecuting dissidents and the media.

Nazarbayev has ruled Kazakhstan since 1990. He has announced he will seek another seven-year term in office in elections scheduled for December.

(Kazakhstan Today/AP)

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