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French Human Rights Ambassador Hopes for Progress in Turkmenistan

Ambassador Francois Zimeray, France's human rights ambassador, is upbeat about the potential for improvement in Turkmenistan's human rights practices, now that he has dropped "naming and shaming" as a technique to prod response from the reclusive Central Asian nation.

Asked if France's new policy of engagement with Turkmenistan was working yet to improve human rights, Ambassador Zimeray told EurasiaNet that it was not really a new policy.

"It's not a change in policy, but rather that we are starting from scratch, starting at zero," he said. "Under Niyazov, there were no human rights."

In June, Zimeray visited Turkmenistan to meet with Turkmen authorities and said the situation, while still poor, was better than under past dictator Sapurmurat Niyazov.

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French Human Rights Ambassador Hopes for Progress in Turkmenistan

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