Foreign minister makes agreement with officials in Kazakhstan

Costa Rica’s foreign minister has visited Kazakhstan after a stop in Azerbaijan. Both central Asian countries have repressive regimes. The Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto said Thursday that the minister, Manuel A. González Sanz, signed an agreement with that country’s foreign minister,  Erlan Idrissov.

The ministry quoted González as saying Kazakhstan has a lot of potential and that Idrissov was invited to visit Costa Rica. The ministry said that a commercial delegation from Costa Rica might visit the country next year.

Human Rights Watch says that Kazakhstan heavily restricts freedom of assembly, speech, and religion, and torture remains a serious problem.   In 2014, authorities closed newspapers, jailed or fined dozens of people after peaceful but unsanctioned protests, and fined or detained worshipers for practicing religion outside state controls, it said.  The government remanded a lawyer who complained about interference in a trial to a psychiatric institution, Human Rights Watch said.

The ministry here noted that John Kerry, U.S. secretary of State, was supposed to visit  Kazakhstan next week.

Foreign ministers shake hands after signing agreement.

Foreign ministers shake hands after signing agreement.

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