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Clinton Raises Kazakh Rights Concerns

Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Yerlan Idrisov has held talks in Washington with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clinton said she had raised concerns with the foreign minister on October 3 about threats to human rights in Kazakhstan, including a new religion law that could restrict the right to worship freely.

"I did express the importance of continuing to strengthen space for the development of civil society," Clinton said.

"A strong civil society is essential to an effective democracy and we urge that all human rights be protected."

Clinton praised Kazakhstan for being a "global leader" in nuclear nonproliferation efforts.

She also described the Central Asian country is a "critical link" in the Northern Distribution Network, through which supplies are delivered to NATO-led troops in Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by Reuters