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Foreign Involvement Alleged In Turkmen Opposition Conspiracy

(RFE/RL) June 20, 2006 -- Authorities in Turkmenistan have accused Western nationals and diplomats of involvement in an alleged opposition plot aimed at destabilizing the country.

In comments made on national television on June 19, National Security Minister Geldymukhammed Ashirmukhammedov said the purported plot involved a number of exiled opposition figures who are wanted in Turkmenistan.

Ashirmukhammedov quoted Khudaiberdy Orazov, Turkmenistan's former central-bank chief, and Tajigul Begmedova, the chairwoman of the Bulgarian-based Turkmen Helsinki Foundation, as being part of the purported plot.

He also accused French Embassy employees, British citizens, and other foreign nationals of helping one of the alleged plotters, who was recently arrested in Turkmenistan.

Ashirmukhammedov also claimed that an employee of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is also involved in the alleged plot.

(Turkmen TV, AFP)