Kazakhstan: the US and EU grow concerned with riots in Zhanaozen. Russia appears concerned over economics
United States, European Union and OSCE have expressed their serious concerns about events in the town of Zhanaozen of Kazakhstan.
According to RIA Novosti, the U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said late Monday that “the U.S. is deeply concerned by the violence, and urged restraint by all parties to restore calm”. She has also shown her concerns over the communication breakdown resulting from riots and urged the government of Kazakhstan to handle this problem promptly. "We welcome the Government of Kazakhstan's stated commitment to a thorough and transparent investigation into the causes. Those responsible for any criminal acts perpetrated should be brought to justice in accordance with international standards", she said.
Earlier, concerns over the events were expressed by Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union: “the High Representative hopes that the authorities of the Republic of Kazakhstan will immediately investigate the events and that there will be a peaceful solution found to the problems faced by the striking oil workers, through social dialogue”, reads a statement distributed by her spokesperson.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe chairperson-in-office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis in his statement pointed to the freedom of peaceful assembly as a fundamental pre-requisite for a democratic society. He also expressed his concerns in a statement at the measures adopted in suppressing the disorder: “any action to control crowds by law enforcement should be proportionate and in line with international human rights standards,” he said, according to Novosti-Kazakhstan. “The number of confirmed deaths is very worrying. I urge Kazakhstan’s authorities to ensure that the investigation into these events is conducted transparently and with the full respect for human rights. I offer my condolences to the families of those who died and I urge all parties to resist further violence”, Ažubalis added.
In turn, Russia has shown almost no reaction to the events in Zhanaozen. President Medvedev has appeared to be more concerned with the “overall economic situation in the world, and particularly in the euro-zone”. Answering a question about possible impact of the events upon the process of Eurasian integration, he said, as follows: “Political events in the territories of the union’s states, might somehow reflect upon a situation in a given country, but should not impact the process of building the common market and of integration of the countries’ economies”.
Russian prime-minister Vladimir Putin has chosen not to mention the situation in Zhanaozen when extending his congratulations to Kazakhstan on the occasion of the Independence Day on the 17th of December.
According to official communications, at least 14 people have been killed and dozens wounded since the 7 month long protests by oil workers in southwestern town of Zhanaozen descended into a violent confrontation Friday, December 16th, between police and protesters. Unofficially, people talk of over 50 dead, and many hundreds of wounded and arrested.
Fergana International Information Agency