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During this difficult time for the people of the United States, as the President of the Kyrgyz Republic I would like to carry a voice of friendly support to Americans from Central Asia. Our mountainous Central Asian country is located far away from the USA, but on the tragic day of September 11, geographic distance lost its usual meaning. The people of Kyrgyzstan perceived the events in New York and Washington as their own tragedy. Our hearts were feeling the same pain, and beat in unison with yours.
Driven by a feeling of solidarity, in response to President Bush's call we announced our decision to join the international community in fighting international terrorism. Acting on behalf of my people, as the President of the country I allowed the use of the airspace of the Kyrgyz Republic for the fight against international terrorism. Together with our partners and allies in the region, we are ready for additional measures in the approaching antiterrorist campaign and, of course, within our actual capacities.
For the Kyrgyz Republic, international terrorism is far from a virtual threat. For the past three years, Kyrgyzstan and its neighbors in the Central Asian region have been at the sharp edge of aggressive attacks by large militant units, launched from neighboring Afghanistan and funded by terrorist Number One, Osama bin Laden. Their goal is to undermine our security and to impose by force in the region an order that is alien to our people. No small number of our soldiers and officers died in battles with these terrorists, and thereby demonstrated their devotion to their people. Hence, the call of the U.S. President for a joint fight against international terrorism reflects not only American interests but also the interests of Kyrgyzstan and other countries of Central Asia.
The 21st century has brought new challenges to mankind. We are called upon to eliminate through our joint effort the international terrorist network once and for all. It is known that in the 20th century, the end to fascism came about through the efforts of the antifascist coalition. The antiterrorist coalition faces a task of the same proportion. Kyrgyzstan and other Central Asian countries will work in solidarity with the actions of the USA and all of the civilized community until this ultimate goal is achieved.
Many people in the USA, Kyrgyzstan, and other countries remember not only the years of World War II but also the postwar years. Our predecessors made plans for overcoming the destruction and returning to peaceful life even before the war was over. I believe that when planning and implementing retaliatory actions, in demonstrating the peaceful and humanistic spirit of our people we should not overlook the period that will follow these actions. It would be wrong and unfair to treat all people of Afghanistan as terrorists. Millions of Afghans have become hostages of international terrorism and added to the ranks of refugees. It is necessary to help these people to return to normal human life and to restore their country from ruins. Such concern for the interests of the innocent Afghan people would be accepted with appreciation, and would receive wide support from the international community. In the end, this would serve the success of the antiterrorist coalition. I have shared my thoughts on the subject and my concrete proposals with President George Bush in my message to him.
In today's conditions, the need for international unity and integrity of the world is becoming increasingly obvious. A tragedy occurring in any part of the world becomes the grief of all of mankind. Under such circumstances, the role of the United Nations Organization, tasked with uniting people and ensuring international security, is growing. The fight against international terrorism highlights the need for further enhancing the role of the UN.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that we sincerely appreciate the help and support of the United States in establishing our independence. At the end of August, the Kyrgyz Republic celebrated the 10th anniversary of its sovereignty. We feel the USA's continuous attention to the development and improvement of democracy in our country. This attention serves as an incentive to us in the consistent development of the democratic process.
In the current complicated situation, the people of Kyrgyzstan will remain the real friends of the people of the United States, and will fulfil their duty in fighting international terrorism.
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