Adds further remarks of the ambassador, background (graph 6-12; first version was posted at 08:17)
Kazakhstan, Astana, Nov. 3 / Trend, A. Maratov /
The new law on religion in Kazakhstan is currently a subject of discussion and negotiations between the U.S. State Department and the Kazakh Government, the U.S. Ambassador to Astana said in an interview with Trend.
"The Law "On religion and religious freedom" is the area in which the relations between our countries are developing. We have been always holding discussions on the subject, and we will continue them", Kenneth Fairfax said, commenting on adoption of the new law in Kazakhstan.
According to him, the issue of religion, including the law on religion "is always the scope of dialogue between the two governments, where all parties can engage in open dialogue and find the answer."
However, the ambassador would not specify which items of the new law are currently being negotiated.
"These talks are held between the U.S. and Kazakhstan, but at this stage this dialogue is not for the media", the U.S. diplomat said.
Fairfax said also that terrorism is the reality faced by the whole world today.
"Terrorism has become a reality throughout the world. This is urgent not only for Kazakhstan, but also for the United States and Western Europe. Terrorism appears everywhere. It is the issue facing the governments of all countries", said Fairfax.
The authorities of Kazakhstan, the country 70 percent of whose 16-million population are Muslims, have accepted Islamic extremism as a threat to its stability after the country faced with Islamic militancy this year for the first time.
After a series of explosions in various regions and clashes between police and militants, the president urged the parliament to toughen laws to protect the country from the threat of religious extremism.
According to Nursultan Nazarbayev, the new law will help to strengthen religious tolerance in society.
"Peace and harmony in our multicultural house are the most important asset of Kazakhstan", he said on the day the law was signed.
The initiative, however, has sparked heated debate.