Kazakh restive town normal, UN experts invited

December 23rd, 2011 - 9:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Astana, Dec 23 (IANS) Normalcy is returning to the restive western Kazakh town of Zhanaozen as authorities invited UN experts to participate in the probe into riots that left more than a dozen dead last week.

Prosecutor general Askhat Daulbayev Thursday evening held talks with Armen Harutyunyana of the UN human rights commission, according to an official communique.

Daulbayev briefed the UN official on the current situation in Zhanaozen and the government efforts to restore stability in the region.

Kazakhstan?s President Nursultan Nazarbayev Dec 17 declared a three week emergency in the town a day after clashes there left 14 dead and 75 wounded.

Nazarbayev has expressed sympathies to the families of those who died and to those who were injured and promised government assistance.

The violence broke out after laid-off oil workers clashed with police.

Nazarbayev condemning the violence said ?peace and harmony in our country were main values? of the nation, due to which Kazakhstan has achieved economic growth in the first 20 years of its independence.

?We will not allow any attempts to upstage peace and harmony in our home, shatter the achievements of our independence,? he said.

The Kazakh government has set up an investigative team led by Internal Minister Kalmukhambet Kassymov to identify and bring to justice those instigating the violence.

The government has also set up a special commission led by First Deputy Prime Minister Umirzak Shukeyev tasked to resolve the problems of the striking oil workers.

The government has said it remained determined to protect the safety and security of people.

The clashes occurred as the oil and mineral rich Central Asian nation marked the 20th anniversary of independence from the Soviet Union, with celebrations throughout the country.

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