Rice's speech comes as Kazakhstan is preparing for a 4 December presidential election.
Rice later met with President Nursultan Nazarbaev, who is seeking another seven-year term in the vote.
Ahead of Rice's arrival, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported that Kazakh security forces yesterday detained Tolen Tokhtasynov, a prominent opposition figure. Rice had been scheduled to meet with him.
Rice, who is on a regional tour, is due to travel later today to Tajikistan.
(RFE/RL's Kazakh Service/AFP/AP)
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