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U.S. Ambassador: Foreign NGOs Respect Tajik Law

Ambassador Richard Hoagland (file photo) (official website) Dushanbe, 2 December 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan, Richard Hoagland, today defended the activities of foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the Central Asian state.

Hoagland told RFE/RL that NGOs operating in Tajikistan observe the laws of the country.

"I can assure you that every American and international NGO works according to the laws of Tajikistan. There are some people, a small minority, who want to interpret the law so that it causes problems. I don't think that is the majority view in the government of Tajikistan," Hoagland said.(To hear the full interview, click here: Real Audio / Windows Media )

Hoagland has demanded apologies for an article in a Tajik state-run newspaper that he called "anti-American propaganda."

The 26 November article in "Jumhuriyat" accused a U.S.-funded legal-assistance organization, the American Bar Association's Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative, of criticizing the Tajik government and promoting what it called "dangerous" Western values in its seminars.

Hoagland has said that whoever ordered the article wants to damage the U.S.-Tajik relations. "Jumhuriyat" Editor in Chief Kamol Abdurahimov told RFE/RL that the article's author was merely exercising his right to free speech.

The ambassador today held several meetings with Tajik government officials, as well as with representatives of the ruling People's Democratic Party, telling them that U.S. democracy-promotion efforts in Tajikistan are not intended to spark a revolution.

(RFE/RL's Tajik Service)

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