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Tajik Foreign Ministry Casts Doubt On WikiLeaks Report

DUSHANBE -- The Tajik Foreign Ministry says it is "surprised" by the suggestion that Washington wields influence over Dushanbe's policy decisions, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

The Russian-language website cited what it said was a U.S. Embassy cable made public by WikiLeaks.

The report cited the United States as warning President Emomali Rahmon in 2005 that General Ghaffor Mirzoev was a threat, whereupon Rahmon fired Mirzoev as head of the Antinarcotics Agency and of the National Olympic Committee. Mirzoev was subsequently charged with serious crimes, including plotting a coup d'etat, and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The report cited another alleged cable that said Washington had lobbied for the appointment of former Tajik Ambassador to U.S. Hamrokhon Zarifi as Tajik foreign minister, a post he now holds.

RFE/RL has not been able to locate either document.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Davlat Nazriev told RFE/RL today the ministry was "surprised" by the suggestion that Washington had say over such internal decisions.

Nazriev said Rahmon makes decisions independently, on the basis of Tajikistan's national interests, and not on the basis of foreign advice.

Nazriev also rejected the specific claim about Zarifi. He characterized Zarifi as very loyal, very experienced, and one of the most competent persons on Rahmon's presidential team.