September 25, 2006
The Associated Press

U.S. Pursues Ties to Oil-Rich Kazakhstan

President Bush is pursuing closer ties to oil-rich Kazakhstan despite what human rights observers have said is a disturbing backslide toward autocracy in the former Soviet republic.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice did not answer when asked Monday whether human rights or energy would top the agenda for a meeting with her Kazakh counterpart. The session on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly sets up a coveted White House invitation for Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Friday. . . .

Kazakhstan has grown in importance because of its huge oil reserves. The vast Central Asian republic, which is the size of Western Europe, is expected to pump 3.5 billion barrels of oil a day in the coming decade.

With the other four former Soviet Central Asian nations being more authoritarian, too unstable, too poor, or a combination of all three, Kazakhstan emerges as the West's logical ally in the strategic energy-rich region north of Afghanistan and Iran. . . .


"The New Great Game," Guardian, October 20, 2003

"Kazakhstan's president to be given green light to rule for a third decade," Independent, January 15, 2011

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