Madame President, distinguished chairmen, fellow international donor representatives, I am pleased to join you today for this very timely conference. The United States is committed to working with the people and the government of the Kyrgyz Republic as they move toward a stable, secure, prosperous and democratic future for their country. We are glad to be part of a broad international effort, mobilized to help the Kyrgyz Republic address the many challenges and opportunities it faces. Madame President, we want to especially recognize the courage, leadership, and vision you have shown over the past four months, during this very trying – but also very hopeful – period in your nation’s history.
We thank the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic for hosting this event, and the World Bank for its role in organizing it. We also want to express our deep appreciation to the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and Asian Development Bank, and other participating organizations for preparing the reference document for this meeting, the Joint Economic Assessment. The title of this document – “Reconciliation, Recovery and Reconstruction” – is highly appropriate. These three elements are all necessary, and they are interrelated. Genuine and lasting recovery from the events of the past several months will not occur without reconciliation.
In the aftermath of April 7, and in response to the tragic violence that occurred in southern Kyrgyzstan in early June, the United States significantly expanded humanitarian and technical assistance to both governmental and non-governmental organizations. Immediate medical and other humanitarian assistance provided by the U.S. to the victims of violence both in April and June, valued at approximately $4 million, is not included in our pledge today.
Our pledge today is $48.6 million. We have prepared a detailed Fact Sheet on what is included in our pledge. Let me highlight a few key elements here:
1. $20.8 million is intended to meet the needs of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Of that amount, at least $7.7 million represents contributions to various appeals from international organizations including the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. $10 million of that total is for programs to address food security. We hope to provide further support to international appeals in the coming weeks.
2. $21 million will support a program that focuses on small-scale community improvement projects, identified in consultation with the Government of Kyrgyzstan and community-level organizations.
3. The pledge includes over $5 million in funds to support free and fair elections and other democratic processes.
All these projects will be closely aligned to the strategy outlined in the recent Joint Economic Assessment, and we will work with other international donors to ensure our projects are coordinated so as to maximize their impact.
We expect all the funds we pledge today to be available this calendar year, although they will not all be expended in 2010; projects supported by these funds will continue well into 2011. We are not including in our formal pledge our annual allocation of assistance funds for fiscal year 2010 which amounts to $47.6 million in resources directly relevant to the JEA. These funds are supporting projects in health, education, agriculture, private sector development, civil society support and security sector reform. Also, we have asked for an additional appropriation of $42 million from our Congress for the Kyrgyz Republic in our fiscal year 2011 budget request. These funds should be available in the second half of next year and a substantial portion will be directed to sectors identified in the Joint Assessment. We continue to discuss the possibility of providing additional assistance within our current capabilities for enhancing security, fostering reconciliation, and addressing local economic development and anticipate additional announcements in the near future.
Other donors may be in a similar position with respect to future funding commitment. For that reason we recommend that today’s meeting not be the last such gathering but that we update and refresh our pledges periodically over the next 30 months.
I noted that the U.S. has made a substantial commitment to addressing IDP needs in the south, and today is pledging additional funds to that effort. We provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Kyrgyzstan without pre-condition. Nonetheless, those funds must be directed in ways that are consistent with certain international humanitarian principles. In the current situation in the south, those principles must include: no involuntary resettlement; and equitable treatment for all victims of the June violence. In concert with the rest of the donor community, we look to the government at all levels, national and local, to make every effort to fairly address the needs of all victims of the June violence, regardless of ethnicity.
In addition to our pledged assistance to address the needs of the internally displaced, and to promote economic recovery and reconciliation, we also strongly support the international effort to address challenges in the security environment. I am certain all here would agree that the security services must fulfill their responsibilities professionally and in a manner that can earn the confidence of all of Kyrgyzstan’s communities. We wholeheartedly endorse the recent decision by the OSCE to approve a Police Advisory Group to implement an observation and training mission in the southern oblasts, and trust that the Provisional Government and OSCE will work together to deploy this mission as soon as possible. The United States intends to provide financial resources and personnel to this effort.
Further, we applaud the Provisional Government for initiating a comprehensive public investigation into the recent violence, and for inviting a parallel and coordinated international investigation. It is crucial that these investigations be viewed by all citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic, and by the international community, as credible. We stand ready to support the international component of the investigation. Determining who took part in the violence and who was victimized, ensuring accountability for those who were responsible, and determining the underlying causes so as to prevent fresh outbreaks of violence – these are all critical to the reconciliation process.
Finally, let me say a word about prioritization. The Joint Economic Assessment does an excellent job of sorting out short, medium and long-term needs, and can serve essentially as a strategy for the donor community to support reconciliation, recovery and reconstruction over the next 30 months. However, we must remember that there are absolutely essential needs over the next three months. Winter arrives in three months’ time. Tens of thousands of displaced persons in the south are without proper shelter. A sense of security has not been restored in the region – in fact there are credible reports of ongoing harassment, intimidation, and human rights abuses. Restoring security and addressing humanitarian needs in the south must remain in the center of our attention.
In closing, let me again express our appreciation to the organizers of today’s meeting for their persistence in planning this event, originally scheduled for early July. This will not be the last time donors gather to commit support for the Kyrgyz Republic and to discuss the best way to carry out that support. The United States strongly supports this collective approach and believes the only way to effectively address the current challenges facing this country is for the international community to continue working together, and in close partnership with the government and the people of Kyrgyzstan.