23 September 2002

Bush, Kyrgyz President Akayev Reaffirm Strategic Partnership

(Joint statement includes economic reform, democratization, human
rights) (820)

In a joint statement issued in conjunction with the visit of Kyrgyz
President Askar Akayev, President Bush and President Akayev declare
their commitment "to strengthen the long-term, strategic partnership
and cooperation, desiring to promote a shared vision for the 21st
century of a peaceful, prosperous, and sovereign Kyrgyz Republic that
is increasingly integrated into the global economy and the community
of democratic nations."

The statement also announces that a high-level Kyrgyz government
delegation will visit Washington in October in order to identify
"realistic and achievable objectives aimed at accelerating economic
reforms and development in the Kyrgyz Republic."

Following is the text of the joint statement:

(begin text)

The White House 
Office of the Press Secretary 
September 23, 2002

JOINT STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH AND PRESIDENT ASKAR AKAYEV
ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE
KYRGYZ REPUBLIC

We declare our commitment to strengthen the long-term, strategic
partnership and cooperation between our nations, desiring to promote a
shared vision for the 21st century of a peaceful, prosperous, and
sovereign Kyrgyz Republic that is increasingly integrated into the
global economy and the community of democratic nations.

We reaffirm our deep appreciation for the strong relations that have
been established between our two countries based on mutual respect and
the common goals of stability, peace, and prosperity. We will advance
our cooperation on democratic political and free-market economic
reforms, and the development of the resources of the Kyrgyz Republic
and its people. We affirm that these political and economic reforms
are a necessary condition to ensure political, social, and economic
stability; sustainable development; prosperity; and national security.

We recognize that the threats of terrorism, trafficking of narcotics,
and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction endanger the security
not only of the United States and the Kyrgyz Republic, but also of the
Central Asian region and the world at large. We, therefore, seek to
develop our security cooperation to address these challenges and
foster cooperation among the United States and the Kyrgyz Republic,
its Central Asian neighbors, the other regional powers, and our
European partners.

Recognizing the essential role that the Kyrgyz Republic plays in the
war against terrorism, we declare our intention to cooperate in this
war to its conclusion and within the framework of the international
coalition. We emphasize our support for the Afghan Transitional
Administration and the goal that it be at peace internally and with
its neighbors and integrated into the regional and international
economic structures. We also express our readiness to support
Afghanistan's reconstruction and the development of its natural and
human resources.

In the spirit of partnership, the Kyrgyz Republic and the United
States intend to strengthen joint activity to ensure security and
stability in Central Asia. We agree that the expansion of trade and
economic ties among the states of Central Asia, and deepening of
regional integration in important areas such as the environment, water
resources, and transportation systems, are a basis for regional
security and prosperity. The United States is enhancing assistance
programs to the Kyrgyz Republic to strengthen border security and to
increase the defensive capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Kyrgyz
Republic.

We recognize that free-market economies, democratic political systems,
and the rule of law provide the most effective means to advance the
welfare of our citizens and the stability of our societies. The United
States and the Kyrgyz Republic pledge to develop further our bilateral
trade and investment relations, including through expanded contacts
between the business communities of our countries. We are united in
our mutual efforts to cooperate to accelerate the development of an
attractive, transparent, and predictable investment climate in the
Kyrgyz Republic. Achieving this goal requires the removal of
legislative and administrative barriers to investment, strengthening
respect for contracts and the rule of law, reducing corruption, and
enhancing the Kyrgyz Republic's strong record on economic reform.

We reaffirm our commitment to work diligently and on a regular and
sustained basis in the areas specified in the Memorandum of
Understanding signed in Washington on February 15, 2002, with the goal
of strengthening the economic component of our bilateral cooperation.
In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding, both sides have
agreed that a high-level Kyrgyz government delegation will visit
Washington in October 2002 for the purpose of further identifying
realistic and achievable objectives aimed at accelerating economic
reforms and development in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Recognizing that democracy is a cornerstone of long-term stability, we
reaffirm our desire to strengthen democratic institutions and
processes, such as civil society, independent media, local government,
political pluralism, and free and fair elections. We also reaffirm our
mutual commitments to advance the rule of law and promote freedom of
religion and other universal human rights as enshrined by the founding
documents of the United Nations and the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe, of which we are both members. Finally, we
confirm our mutual efforts to enhance understanding between the
citizens of our two countries by promoting people-to-people exchanges,
initiatives of non-governmental organizations, and contacts between
business people.

(end text)

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Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)