The United States is gently pressing Kazakhstan to do more to reform its political system in the wake of parliamentary elections that failed to meet international standards and a violent crackdown on labor protests in the country's oil-rich western region.
Kazakhstan's foreign minister, Yerzhan Kazykhanov, visited Washington and met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on February 1. Clinton was “encouraged by the wide range of our positive cooperation in our strategic partnership,” including on nuclear security and Afghanistan, said a State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
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Joshua Kucera is a Washington, DC,-based writer who specializes in security issues in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East. He is the editor of EurasiaNet's Bug Pit blog.