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Blake On Kyrgyzstan


U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake speaks with Voice of America.

In the past year, Kyrgyzstan has held a constitutional referendum, elected a president, and organized the first competitive parliamentary elections in Central Asia.

"Kyrgyzstan is an important friend of the United States," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake told the Kyrgyz Investors Roundtable held recently in Washington DC. "We have been proud to support the remarkable democratic transition that has taken place in Kyrgyzstan since the fall of the Bakiyev regime in April of last year."

In the past year, Kyrgyzstan has held a constitutional referendum, elected a president, and organized the first competitive parliamentary elections in Central Asia.

Kyrgyzstan also cooperated with the International Commission of Inquiry in an investigation into the ethnic violence of June 2010, and the President of Kyrgyzstan has started considering how to implement the report’s recommendations. "That’s a real tribute to the people of Kyrgyzstan and to the leadership of President [Roza] Otunbayeva and Prime Minister [Almazbeck] Atambayev," Assistant Secretary Blake said in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation.

The U.S. significantly raised bilateral assistance in 2010 to over $140 million to support Kyrgyzstan during its transition. In an interview with the Voice of America recently, Assistant Secretary Blake said:

"We’ve devoted an exceptional amount of time and energy and resources to supporting the development of democracy in Kyrgyzstan. There’s been a lot of progress. It’s the first freely elected parliamentary democracy in Central Asia, and it has given Kyrgyzstan a certain suppleness to deal with the many challenges that it has been facing over the last year."

Assistant Secretary Blake hosted a delegation of Kyrgyz government officials led by Foreign Minister Ruslan Kazakbayev to Washington this month for the inaugural session of the Annual Bilateral Consultations, a structured policy dialogue. The discussion included all aspects of the U.S.-Kyrgyzstan relationship -- support for Kyrgyzstan's parliamentary democracy, judicial and legal reform, human rights, regional stability and security, education and cultural exchanges, and economic development and trade.

"The establishment of Annual Bilateral Consultations between Kyrgyzstan and the United States," said Assistant Secretary Blake, "is an important step forward in strengthening the relationship between the two nations."

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