"Central Asia is a region of significant importance to U.S. national interests," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake.
The U.S. recognizes the uniqueness of each of the 5 Central Asian nations -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan -- and their sovereignty and independence. The United States supports the development of stable democratic nations, integrated into the world economy and cooperating with 1 another, the United States, and its partners, to advance regional security and stability.
After reviewing its approach to Central Asia, the U.S. has formulated a policy which comprises 5 priorities. They include expanding cooperation with Central Asian states to assist the war effort in Afghanistan, increasing development of the region's energy resources and supply routes, and encouraging political liberalization and respect for human rights. 2 additional goals are to foster market economies and economic reform and to prevent the emergence of failed states.
The United States, said Assistant Secretary Blake, is interested in developing a good security relationship with the countries of Central Asia, but not at the expense of human rights. The United States, said Assistant Secretary Blake, "has not shied away from discussing frankly, fully and openly human rights issues or the state of civil society. It is and will remain an essential part of our dialogue equal in importance to our discussion on security issues."
The Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan is a case in point. While the transit center makes a substantial contribution to the coalition efforts in Afghanistan, it does not and never will trump America's interest in seeing Kyrgyzstan respect the rights of its citizens. "The Obama administration," said Assistant Secretary Blake, "will not compromise our values. But it will seek dialogue and engagement with all our partners."
The United States plans to continue to engage each of the Central Asian countries individually and pursue an agenda that promotes democracy, free market economics, and respect for human rights.