Kyrgyzstan attaches great significance to the country's cooperation with the European Union, President Askar Akayev said after a Thursday meeting with Commissioner for External Relations at the European Commission Christopher Patten in Bishkek.
The European Union has given extensive assistance to Kyrgyzstan over the past decade, the president said.
The EU has provided "assistance in the strengthening of national democratic institutions and promotion of economic reforms. The TRACECA project has yielded a large grant to Kyrgyzstan, and the funds will be spent on the construction of a railroad between China and Kyrgyzstan. The project is aimed at reviving the Great Silk Roads," Akayev said.
Kyrgyzstan "has become a leader in democratic, economic and social reforms" amongst former Soviet republics, and "the EU has contributed significantly to that," the president said.
"Christopher Patten's visit will create new options in constructive cooperation between the EU and Kyrgyzstan," he noted…
The European Union is ready to assist Kyrgyzstan in developing a democratic system, Patten said.
The European Union is ready to discuss cooperation in human and civil rights, economic reforms and poverty reduction measures, he said.
Kyrgyzstan remains one of the European Commission's strong partners in the fight against drug trafficking and international terrorism.
Patten told the press on Wednesday evening that the EU and the OSCE would pool efforts to make Kyrgyz presidential and parliamentary elections transparent and free. He said they hoped that the elections in Kyrgyzstan would serve as an example for Central Asia as a whole.
Patten welcomed Akayev's decision not to take part in the presidential elections in 2005. By doing this, Kyrgyzstan will display its stable and mature democratic political system to other nations of the region, he said.
Interfax, March 15, 2004