Statement by
H.E. Mr. Askar Akaev
President of the Kyrgyz Republic
General Debate of the 57th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
New York, 20
September 2002

Distinguished Mr. President,
Distinguished Mr. Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all let me congratulate you, Mr. President, on your election to the high post of President of this respected world forum and to wish you success in this work. Your election to the post of the President to the General Assembly of the United Nations symbolizes a respect not only personal to you but as well as to your country which enjoys the world community's confidence. The Czech Republic has passed through some hard times in these last decades. From these experiences I believe that you understand the problems, Kyrgyzstan now faces and has been experiencing in transition from the authoritarian past to the democratic future.

I avail myself of this opportunity to thank His Excellency Dr. Han Seung Soo for his excellent work as the President during the previous Session.

The present Session is remarkable in that both the Swiss Confederation and the Democratic Republic of East Timor have become members to the United Nations. I cordially welcome the representatives of these countries now participating in the session of the General Assembly.

Distinguished Mr. President,

This is my first address as the President of the sovereign Kyrgyz Republic before highly esteemed the General Assembly of the United Nations. 11 years have passed since Kyrgyzstan declared its state independence. My aspiration is to share my thoughts on the most pressing problems facing our national progress and to talk about our needs and concerns has brought me before this Assembly.

First, I would like to touch the issue of the International Year of Mountains which is being celebrated this year in accordance with the Resolution adopted by the 53rd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. It was so declared on the initiative of Kyrgyzstan and other countries who see the problem of the development of mountainous areas as of utmost importance to the world. We are deeply grateful for the support of our initiative. Due to the efforts of the United Nations, important arrangements at regional and national levels have been already carried out in this field. The results of this activities will be discussed at the Global Mountain Summit, which is to be held in our capital Bishkek at the end of October. We will create the most favorable conditions for its work within the best traditions of the Kyrgyz hospitality.

Distinguished Mr. President,

I believe the delegates present in this hall will agree with me that among the many complicated challenges that the world community now faces, the most pressing problems are the development of democracy, maintenance of human rights and freedoms. These very problems have been considered as the most important issues for the Kyrgyz Republic since the first days of its independence.

We are confident that one cannot achieve progress and prosperity without consistent democratization and human emancipation. However, the remnants of the Soviet authoritarian heritage still exists in the consciousness of our people, especially the older ones. Former socialist states are considered as transitional countries. As we see, this process of transition goes most painfully not only in the economy, but in our people's consciousness.

On our road towards democracy we have experienced both success and bitter failure. While analyzing our failures, we came to understand that the deficits in democracy were the prime cause of it. As President I have declared a new national idea "Kyrgyzstan - country of human rights" in order to give a new and strong impetus to the development of democracy. We intend to elaborate a Democratic Code and to establish a Council of Democratic Security. With the purpose of further democratization, we have made a decision to reform our Constitution and convene a Constitutional Assembly. At the moment, the Constitutional Assembly is about complete its work soon. The difficulty is that there are different approaches towards the development of democracy. Some factions, pretending to be ardent supporters of democracy, see the essence of democracy in the destruction of existing and the undertaking of new experimentation. This latter cause would mean that the transition from authoritarianism to democracy would be very long time while anxious people await longed for stability.

Being at this rostrum, on behalf of the people of Kyrgyzstan, I would like to assure the world community that we adhere to the principles of democracy and will follow this path despite all the difficulties and obstacles.

Distinguished Mr. President,

I deem the issue of eradicating poverty as being inextricably entwined with the issue of democratization. Under present conditions in the post-Soviet period, the issue of eradicating poverty has become more aggravated. We are not the only one poor country in the world. There are many reasons for this which I will not analyze in my statement. Poverty has a negative impact on people's morale and creates many obstacles on the road to the development of the democratic process. Moreover, poverty is a fertile breeding ground for extremism and international terrorism.

The world community repeatedly declares its intention to assist the needy countries in their eradication of poverty. George Bush, the President of the USA, has promised to substantially increase assistance to poor countries and has declared the establishment of the Millenium Challenges Fund. We value, with gratitude, every effort of the UN, UNDP and other international organizations, as well as donor-countries in helping poor countries. However, these efforts are not sufficient.

Following the example of my colleagues from other poor countries in this forum, I would like to call upon the world community not to ease their efforts in the struggle against poverty and to find new resources and new approaches. This will serve to reduce flash points of instability, to encourage the development of democracy and to influence positively the world development as a whole.

Distinguished Mr. President,

I would like to turn to the problem of international terrorism, as the main danger to the world. New York, where this assembly is now gathered, one year ago has seen one of the most terrible tragedies, which showed the true face of terrorism. The Kyrgyz Republic, which has experienced in past years invasion by international terrorist groups on its own territory, has strongly supported the call of the President of the United States of America, George Bush, for creating an antiterrorist coalition. Kyrgyzstan, together with Russia and other partners, joined the struggle against the great evil of terrorism. We appreciate very much the activities of the Antiterrorist Committee of the Security Council and I assure you that Kyrgyzstan will extend all possible assistance to its work.

Kyrgyzstan actively participates in the struggle with international terrorism both on the global and on the regional and national levels. We have provided the international antiterrorist coalition with our territory for military forces. In December of last year, our capital Bishkek hosted an international conference under the auspices of the UN and the OSCE in order to strengthen comprehensive efforts to fight international terrorism. The Declaration and Program of activities enacted by that Conference have formed a strong basis for actions on the global level.

In the framework of both the Shanghai Organization of Cooperation and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Antiterrorist Centers have been established, and in the framework of the Collective Security Treaty, rapid Development Collective Forces have been formed with headquarters in Bishkek.

I believe that many unresolved problems still remain for the antiterrorist coalition in Afghanistan, where the main asylum of international terrorists was situated till the recently. On September 23rd, I will be meeting with the president of USA George Bush at the White House. I assume that the issue of our cooperation in struggling against international terrorism will be the main issue. I am going to assure the President of USA that Kyrgyzstan will fulfill its share of responsibility acting together with Russia and our other partners.

Distinguished Mr. President,

One of the most important objectives of my presentation to the honorable General Assembly is to draw attention to the biggest event in the life of the Kyrgyz Republic. I mean that in the year 2003 our nation will celebrate 2200 years of Kyrgyz Statehood. Taking into account the wishes of a wide strata of our society, as President I proclaimed by decree the year 2003 as the "Year of the Kyrgyz Statehood."

The search for their own historic and ethnic roots has become the vital need for the newly independent states after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Probably many states represented here have experienced the same aspirations at the dawn of their independence. Surveys conducted by our historians and the research of renowned scientists specializing the Orient, led us to the conclusion that the formation of the first Kyrgyz state appeared at the end of the Std century BC. This is convincingly confirmed in ancient Chinese chronicles. The famous Chinese chronicler Syma Czyan, who is considered to be a "Chinese Herodote," had compiled, figuratively speaking, measured evidence about the existence in ancient times of Kyrgyz statehood in the form of "Kyrgyz Princedom". Sometimes burning very bright, sometimes just smoldering, national statehood was carried through the many centuries, before arriving at the end of the 20U' century embodied in the form of the Kyrgyz Republic that became a member of the UN.

I would like to mention that in 1995 the Kyrgyz nation celebrated a monumental event - 1000 years existence of our greatest national literary work - the heroic epic "Manas". I would like to express our cordial gratitude to the UN for its decision to give that event international character. The celebration of 1000 years of the epic "Manas" was proceeded with great enthusiasm in Kyrgyzstan. It has promoted an incredible revival of national spirit and consolidation of the nation.

From this podium I address to you, Mr. President, to you Mr. Secretary General of UN Mr. Kofi Annan, and to all the delegations participating in the work of the present session of the General Assembly, the request to accept formal acknowledgment of the international status of that great historic event in the life of our country - "2200 years of the Kyrgyz Statehood." Your acknowledgment will be accepted with great gratitude by the whole Kyrgyz nation; and it surely will make a great contribution to the interior political stability and further consolidation of the multi ethnic Kyrgyz nation. Our delegation, in cooperation with other delegations, will submit appropriate materials for the resolution on that request, which I, as the President of Kyrgyzstan, ask you to support.

Distinguished Mr. President,

The cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and the United Nations has a multilateral character, including the great number of problems that constitute a key interest for our country. On all stages of our development after the proclamation of state independence, we received unwavering support and assistance from the UN and its specialized institutions. Using this opportunity, I would like to express our sincere gratitude for that assistance.

Before this General Assembly, I would like to announce, that Kyrgyzstan will always remain bound to the aims and objectives of the United Nations and will make all possible contribution to their realization.

Thank you for your kind attention.