My generation remembers well the political events that have occurred 25 years ago in August 1991, when the SCSE (State Committee on the State of Emergency in the USSR) made an attempt of Putsch to preserve the Soviet Union. However, none could resist to the dynamically growing internal political processes in the country and attractive force of the “wind of change” as a consequence of the “perestroika reforms” – freedom. It is impossible to turn history back. This failed “putsch” has, on the contrary, accelerated the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Prior to the decision on official abolition of the USSR in December 1991, the same year the extraordinary session of the Supreme Council of Kyrgyzstan adopted the Declaration of State Independence of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan on August 31. Thus, the republic was declared as independent, sovereign and democratic state.
The world community immediately recognized independence of Kyrgyzstan.
What is Kyrgyzstan now after 25 years of independence, along with friendly neighbors in the region, similarly young sovereign states?
A quarter of a century seems to be a small period of history, but it is equal to one young generation, and it is time requiring analysis and interpretation of results. Objectively, there was a beginning – searching ways of its development, its national and state identity, “trial and error”, as well as emerging extraordinary political circumstances and at the same time processes similar to each other that took place practically in all newly independent states of post-communist era. These were fascination and frustration; attempts to catch up with someone or copy-paste, successes and failures, endless beginning of transformations and their doom during the transition, insurmountable contradictions and strong belief of the society in the ultimate success.
Kyrgyzstan is known as an open, democratic country with an advanced civil society and its aspirations to follow the path of democratization, rule of law, market economy and gradual transition to full-fledged parliamentary form of government.
Despite the two revolutions (in 2005 and 2010), as well as severe interethnic conflict and political crisis, Kyrgyzstan has managed to overcome a complicated split in the society, restore stability, inter-ethnic harmony and tolerance, as well as preserve the image of a democratic country.
In due time, Frederick Starr, Director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at the Johns Hopkins University (USA), mentioned in the interview that Kyrgyzstan is a small, but a very “vociferous” country in the international arena having in mind a number of resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly of both national and global nature proposed by Kyrgyzstan: from the international celebration of the 2200th anniversary of the Kyrgyz statehood to proclamation of the World Day of Justice, the International Day of Mountains, prevention of radiation threat in Central Asia and co-authorship of the resolution on a nuclear-free zone in Central Asia.
We attach great importance to the development and strengthening of friendly relations with the neighboring countries at the bilateral and multilateral levels. Our ongoing priority of the foreign policy is to achieve a more integrated regional cooperation between Central Asian countries. Words of our famous writer, philosopher and diplomat Chingiz Aitmatov that “historical community, linguistic similarity, common traditions and customs provide us with numerous opportunities to jointly build a new world, a single civilized community” are still relevant.
Modern requirements dictate that it is high time for close and comprehensive partnership for the formation of a stable, sustainable and secure development of the countries and peoples of the region.
Since independence, Kyrgyzstan has legally formalized state borders only with China and Kazakhstan. Negotiations on border issues of Kyrgyzstan with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are still underway, which are characterized by a complicated territorial overlapping. In addition, the problem of joint water resources use in the region still persists. Kyrgyzstan will make efforts to build trust between Central Asian countries and it looks forward to appropriate actions of neighbors in terms of mutual understanding and striving of the parties to find mutually acceptable compromise solution suitable for all parties on the basis of bilateral agreements and principles of the international law.
From 2001 to 2014, Kyrgyzstan has played a strategic role in the international community as part of the operation “Enduring Freedom” in Afghanistan by providing its territory for military infrastructure of the anti-terrorist coalition forces of NATO.
In 2015, Kyrgyzstan became a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, having selected this way consciously and responsibly, and taking account of its national interests. Kyrgyzstan supports the idea of establishing a dialogue between the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union, like other members of the EAEU in order to diversify its links and develop trade and economic relations.
I would like to note that Kyrgyzstan is interested in the implementation of the PRC’s Concept “Economic Belt of the Silk Road”, which is based on cooperation and development of trade and economic relations, transport infrastructure, communication technologies, transit potential and investment.
The implicit priority of the Kyrgyzstan’s foreign policy is the development and strengthening of the relations in all areas of mutual interest with Russia, CIS, China, USA, EU and other countries in Asia and Europe, as well as global and regional international organizations.
I would like to draw special attention to my area of responsibility, my accreditation – it is cooperation with Europe, in particular, with the EU, Benelux countries and France.
In recent years, a progressive and intensive dialogue is observed particularly between our parties – two working visits of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic A. Atambaev to Brussels, EU institutions (in 2013 and 2015) and to France in March and December 2015, a working visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic E. Abdyldaev to Belgium and the Netherlands in October 2016, which allowed to raise the relationship to a new qualitative level of the political dialogues KR-EU, KR-France, KR-Belgium and KR-Netherlands.
The EU is a key priority in the foreign policy of the Kyrgyz Republic. In the interests of the country we continuously strengthen cooperation between the Kyrgyz Republic and EU on two levels: with the EU as a single entity and with each individual EU Member State in order to build an expanded partnership and cooperation. Kyrgyzstan intends to enhance priority sectors of cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and the EU – from the promotion of democratic values to enhancing trade and economic relations. This is favored by receiving of the GSP + status by Kyrgyzstan this year that would allow Kyrgyz producers to export goods to the European Union countries at zero tariffs. We hope that Kyrgyz products will be supplied to the EU space in the near future.
For more than 20 years, the EU has consistently provided support to Kyrgyzstan in promoting democratic reforms, implementation of important projects on the environment, water resources, minimization of risks from uranium tailings and other projects, and as part of grant assistance under the Multiannual Indicative Program 2014-2020.
We are grateful to the European Union and individual EU Member States for the comprehensive assistance and support to Kyrgyzstan at all stages of our development that has significantly contributed to enhancing our statehood and building democratic foundations of the country