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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Very well, thank you.  Good to be here and good to be here with you among some colleagues. 

FOREIGN MINISTER KULUBAEV:  Fresh air outside.    

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Fresh air, yes, we’ve – it was good for good for jet lag.  But Mr. Minister, it’s very good to see you.  Thank you very much for taking the time this afternoon.  We’re both here, of course, to meet with our C5+1 colleagues.  But I also want to say that (inaudible) proud of the partnership that we’ve built over the last more than 30 years with Kyrgyzstan.  We’re committed to your sovereignty, to your territorial integrity, your independence, and very much look forward to continuing to deepen cooperation to advance democratic values, economic prosperity, regional interconnectivity – which we’ll be talking about more this afternoon with our colleagues – as well as to confront the shared challenges that we have, of course. 

So thank you very much for taking the time this afternoon for us to spend some time together. And then we’ll look forward to seeing our colleagues in a little while. 

FOREIGN MINISTER KULUBAEV:  Thank you.  Thank you, dear Mr. Secretary.  I am very pleased to see you at this time in Central Asia, in Kazakhstan.  After our last meeting in New York City, I expected that Kyrgyzstan would be a next venue for our (inaudible).  However, I took your decision to convening here with understanding, so do only true friends.  In the outset, I wish to start by confirming that the United States has been and will be a key foreign policy partner for Kyrgyzstan.  (Inaudible) this opportunity, I express appreciation for all American assistance during the past three decades.  It has contribute to building a democratic Kyrgyzstan that now has strong civil society, protect human rights, fundamental freedoms, and it conducts internationally recognized elections. 

In order – in other words, Kyrgyzstan has become a unique, democratic bright spot.  We are ready to – for advancing our bilateral cooperation on the pillars of friendship and equality, mutual respect, and account of each other’s interests.  I think that our countries share one strategic goal that is to save Kyrgyzstan’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and security, to develop competitive national economy, and to strengthen the rule of law, democracy, and civil society.  

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you very much. 

U.S. Department of State

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