Kyrgyzstan–United States relations
Kyrgyzstan – United States relations are bilateral relations between Kyrgyzstan and the United States. As Kyrgyzstan is a former constituent part of the Soviet Union with little prior immigration or history to the U.S., relations between the two parties have been weak or relatively minimal. Hollywood movies such as Borat have tended to portray this region of the world as backwards or undeveloped; Кyrgyzs who served in the Soviet government or military remember the U.S. as the Cold War enemy. Relations may have been seen to improve after the color revolution of 2005, but later history (see below) has not borne out these early optimistic assessments.
The U.S. government provides humanitarian assistance, non-lethal military assistance, and assistance to support economic and political reforms. It also has supported the Kyrgyz Republic's requests for assistance from international organizations. For example, the United States helped the Kyrgyz Republic accede to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December 1998.
Following 9/11, the U.S. has increased its interest in this part of the world, leading to divisions in opinion and welcome. The US opened the Transit Center at Manas in December 2001 following the 9/11 incident. Both Russia and China were dismayed and in later years reportedly offered large bounties if Kyrgyzstan closed the base. In 2006, the President of Kyrgyzstan demanded further concessions to the agreement and in this year a US Air Force was kidnapped (media later reported inconsistenties in this account; the USAF reconfirmed a kidnapping took place in 2012). 2006 also saw the killing of a Kyrgyz civilian wielding a knife by a US serviceman with a gun. Local Kyrgyz sentiment and media was outraged as the Kyrgyz region is plagued by lawlessness, banditry, and smuggling and the carrying or even threatening with a knife is relatively common in Kyrgyz street culture. For the Americans, still reeling and devastated from the 9/11 terrorist assault on their largest city, any forcible entry by a civilian into a military base can and is met with deadly force. The US military placed the serviceman under administrative punishment and an undisclosed financial settlement was made to the family.
U.S. assistance aids the Kyrgyz Republic in implementing necessary economic, health sector, and educational reforms, and supports economic development and conflict resolution in the Fergana Valley.
Principal U.S. Officials:
- Ambassador—Marie L. Yovanovitch
- Deputy Chief of Mission—Lee Litzenberger
- Political-Economic Officer—Robert Burgess
- Management Officer—Mona Kuntz
- USAID Director—vacant
The U.S. Embassy in the Kyrgyz Republic is located is Bishkek.
Media related to Kyrgyzstan – United States relations at Wikimedia Commons