Speaking to the World Congress of Kyrgyz in the resort of Cholpon-Ata on 29 August, Askar Akaev laid out Kyrgyzstan's three major goals for the next stage of the country's development, akipress.org reported on 1 September. Those goals are to complete constitutional and administrative reform and the reform of the courts and the law enforcement system by 2010, creating the basis for a country that respects human rights. Next, Akaev said, will come reforms directed toward solving concrete social problems. By 2010, poverty in the country should be cut by half. The third goal is to lay the foundations for Kyrgyzstan to become part of the information age, a country with high technology and highly educated citizens. Akaev said these goals will not be achieved in the next five years, but the experiences of the country's first 12 years of independence have shown that there are no problems that are insurmountable…
President Akaev also told the congress that Kyrgyzstan intends to expand its assistance to the more than 500,000 ethnic Kyrgyz living outside the country, akipress.org reported on 1 September. Much of the specific help mentioned by Akaev would be in the field of education, including student and teacher exchanges, opening Kyrgyz-language schools in areas with Kyrgyz populations, and designating quotas of places in higher-educational institutions for ethnic Kyrgyz from abroad. Akaev noted that the largest segment of the Kyrgyz diaspora -- he gave a figure of more than 370,000 -- lives in Uzbekistan, where there are more than 40 schools with Kyrgyz as the language of instruction. More than 150,000 ethnic Kyrgyz are reportedly living in China's Kyzyl-Su Autonomous Okrug. About 106,000 Kyrgyz are in Tajikistan, about 11,000 in Kazakhstan, and, according to fragmentary data, some 100,000 Kyrgyz live in Russia. Akaev told the congress, however, that the 4,000 ethnic Kyrgyz living in Turkey around Lake Van have indicated they would like to emigrate to their ancestral homeland, but Kyrgyzstan is not in a financial position to help them do so.
Akipress.org, September 01-02, 2003