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Kazakhstan: President Backs Belarus In Row With Russia

Almaty, 23 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev today seemed to back Belarus in its row with Russia over the detention of a Russian TV journalist in Minsk.

Pavel Sheremet, a Russian ORT television employee and a Belarus citizen, was detained almost two months ago on charges of violating the Belarusian-Lithuanian border. Sheremet's detention has strained relations between Minsk and Moscow.

Russian news agencies quoted Nazarbayev as saying that every state has the right to insist that its citizens respect the inviolability of its borders. Nazarbayev also called on media not to "sow discord" between countries.

Lukashenka arrived yesterday on his first official visit to Kazakhstan. At the joint news conference he offered to transfer his powers as chairman of the Council of a four-state custom's union to Nazarbayev. Besides Belarus and Kazakhstan, the customs' union includes Russia and Kyrgyzstan.