Cheney, Visiting Kazakhstan, Wades Into Energy Battle - New York Times: "Mr. Cheney's visit to Kazakhstan, on Russia's southern rim, highlighted the balancing of United States interests, trying to counter Russian dominance in energy matters by cozying up to states like Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan that have spotty human rights records and limited democracy — and plenty of oil.
'The United States is trying to strike a difficult balance,' said Tanya Kostello, an analyst at Eurasia Group, a New York risk consultancy. 'It is trying to encourage the regime in Kazakhstan to move toward democracy while maintaining the economic ties.'
The Kazakh president, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, won a third six-year term in December 2005, with 91 percent of the vote in an election that international observers said was flawed. Two opposition politicians have been murdered in six months, raising the specter of instability"
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