Kazakh president warns foreign NGOs against interfering

The president of Kazakhstan warned foreign nonprofit groups against interfering in the politics of the country, which faces presidential elections in December.

Nursultan Nazarbayev told a gathering of political and civil groups that authorities will "closely watch" foreign and domestic nonprofit groups to make sure they follow Kazakh laws.

Foreign aid groups have been accused by several ex-Soviet republics of cooperating with Western governments to fund and train opposition parties that brought down governments in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.

Nazarbayev's warning came after the Constitutional Council last month rejected bills on the activity of foreign nonprofit organizations on the grounds they were unconstitutional. The two bills approved by parliament in June had been strongly criticized by the opposition and rights activists as intended to restrict the activity of international groups that focus on promoting civil society and democracy.

"We have to make it clear: By our laws, foreign organizations ... cannot interfere in our country's political life, cannot fund political parties, especially in an election period," the AP quotes Nazarbayev as saying.

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