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OSCE Officer Accused In Turkmen Plot Allegations

(RFE/RL) VIENNA, June 20, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has declined to comment on charges leveled against one of its Ashgabat representatives by the Turkmen authorities.

Turkmen National Security Minister Geldymukhammed Ashirmukhammedov told Turkmen television on June 19 that the OSCE's human rights officer in Ashgabat, Benjamin Moreau, had been helping Turkmen citizens accused of plotting against the state.

OSCE spokesman Keith Jinks told RFE/RL in Vienna today that the organization was aware of the specific accusations made by the Turkmen authorities, but would not comment on them at this stage.

"We have no comments to make on the details. All we can say at this stage is that two members of the staff of the OSCE center in Ashgabat -- they were Benjamin Moreau and [political officer] Dieter Matthei -- were invited to a meeting by the foreign minister yesterday at 7 p.m. local time," Jinks said. "They were informed about accusations made against two Turkmen citizens."

Jinks said Moreau "was able to answer all the questions that were put to him."

Ashirmukhammedov on June 19 claimed the alleged plot had been masterminded by exiled opposition leaders. He also accused a French Embassy employee and British citizens of involvement in the purported conspiracy.

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