Updated at: 07/01/2013 10:05 AM
(AP) BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - British Prime Minister David Cameron has promoted business ties with energy-rich Kazakhstan during meetings with the Central Asian country’s president that were overshadowed by concerns about human rights.
British businesses sealed deals worth 700 million pounds (nearly $1 billion) during Monday’s visit, the first by a British leader, Britain’s Press Association news agency reported.
Human rights groups criticized the trip, saying President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s government imprisons critics and limits freedom of expression.
Cameron said at a joint news conference that he had discussed these concerns with Nazerbayev and that the two countries had agreed to open a new chapter in their relationship based on stronger economic ties and closer cooperation on security and defense.
Cameron arrived in the Kazakh capital, Astana, after visiting Afghanistan and Pakistan.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)