I recently hosted Kyrgyz Republic Foreign Minister Ruslan Kazakbayev, who led a delegation of Kyrgyz government officials to Washington, June 9-10, for the inaugural session of Annual Bilateral Consultations (ABC).
The meeting gave me an opportunity to reflect on the close relationship that we have established with the new Kyrgyz government. Given the many activities we have initiated and sponsored in Kyrgyzstan over the past year, the ABC provided a valuable mechanism to review these programs and conceive new ones. The participants discussed all aspects of the U.S.-Kyrgyzstan relationship, including 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.
Members of both delegations commemorated the victims of the tragic events of June 2010 in the south of the Kyrgyz Republic with a moment of silence.
In addition to the government meetings, I also co-hosted with Foreign Minister Kazakbayev a dialogue with representatives from non-governmental organizations. The Kyrgyz also held a round table discussion with U.S. and Canadian businesses interested in trade and investment opportunities in Kyrgyzstan, which I hope will produce more private sector linkages between our two countries.
The establishment of Annual Bilateral Consultations between Kyrgyzstan and the United States is an important step forward in strengthening the relationship between the two nations.