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Kazakhstan: UK Courts Nazarbayev amid Human Rights Concerns

Cameron’s visit to Kazakhstan touched on human rights, economic relations, and energy resources. (Photo: Joanna Lillis)

UK Prime Minister David Cameron raised human rights concerns with his hosts during a two-day visit to Kazakhstan. But not even the most delicately phrased admonition seems likely to prompt President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s administration to alter its current political course.

Cameron landed in Kazakhstan on June 30 and was greeted enthusiastically by Nazarbayev. Cameron left no doubt that the focus of his trip was economic: Britain is “in a global race for jobs and investment,” he stated, and Kazakhstan is “one of the most rapidly emerging countries in the world.”

Cameron became the first serving British prime minister to visit Kazakhstan, but the path to Astana was blazed by former PM Tony Blair, who has a multi-million-dollar contract to advise Kazakhstani leaders on governance issues.

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Joanna Lillis is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia.

Kazakhstan: UK Courts Nazarbayev amid Human Rights Concerns

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