Washington, D.C., June 15, 2005 - Roza Otunbayeva, Acting Foreign Minister of Kyrgyzstan, told reporters at a press conference Tuesday at the Voice of America (VOA) that her nation's March 24 revolution provided it with an opportunity to make a "second attempt to prove ourselves" as a democratic country.
Otunbayeva, a former ambassador to the U.S., said that the first attempt at establishing a democratic Kyrgyzstan, "after the collapse of the former Soviet Union," did not live up to its promise. Otunbayeva said her meeting earlier Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was "just the beginning of our Kyrgyz-American dialogue on this second round of our development." She also expressed her country's strong desire to join other former Soviet republics, notably Armenia and Georgia, as candidates for U.S. aid from the Millennium Challenge Accounts, which provide development assistance to those countries deemed to hold fair and transparent elections, who invest in their citizens, and encourage economic freedom.
Asked about the recent forced repatriation of Uzbek refugees who had fled to Kyrgyzstan, the foreign minister replied that her government has formed a state commission to investigate and determine who was responsible for this action. "I am sure they will be punished severely, because it was against our law," said the foreign minister.
Otunbayeva's appearance at the VOA Newsmaker Press Conference was broadcast via satellite to VOA television audiences in Europe and Central Asia. Excerpts were also used in radio and television broadcasts and are available on the Internet at: www.VOANews.com
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages, including English.