"Future successes of a democratic and free Republic of Kazakhstan directly benefit the United States, as it will help ensure stability and prosperity of Central Asia, a region extremely important in our fight against international terrorism."
Mr. CANNON. Mr. Speaker, today the United States needs true friends like the Republic of Kazakhstan as never before and we should encourage and welcome their achievements for the simple reason that by strengthening themselves they strengthen us.
I have followed the development of a young Kazakhstan with great interest and I should note that since gaining its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, this country has undergone tremendous political and economic transformation. Reforming a former totalitarian society is not an easy task. Of course, there were some mistakes and drawbacks. However, one should acknowledge the fact that Kazakhstan is dynamically moving forward and is moving in the right direction.
We should keep in mind that we are talking about a country which achieved democracy and personal freedoms through tremendous suffering. A great deal of credit for Kazakhstan's coming of age should go to its leader, President Nursultan Nazarbayev. I fully share the position of the leadership of Kazakhstan that any reforms make sense only if they serve the people.
Many have criticized Kazakhstan for initially choosing a course of economic liberalization while putting deep political reforms on the backburner. However, the time has proven this course right. I praise the political foresight of President Nazarbayev, an architect of Kazakhstan's success, who, in spite of criticism, has managed to bring his country into the fold of economically strong nations and has now embarked on an even bolder set of political reforms.
Recently, Kazakhstan's leader has called for a massive transformation of the county's political life and the strengthening of Kazakhstan's leadership by building a democracy. The major step in this direction will be a significant strengthening of the role of the national Parliament. President Nazarbayev has proposed to increase the numbers of deputies in both houses of Parliament and to develop a new system of forming the Government through the mechanism of a Parliamentary majority.
I believe decisions to decentralize state management and pursue aggressive fights against corruption are also crucial. Moreover, according to the President, the judiciary system will undergo serious reforms. Jury trials will be introduced, more power will be given to defense attorneys in criminal litigation.
All this, to me, is a true sign of Kazakhstan's maturity. I agree with President Nazarbayev, that ``You can't just declare democracy. You can only build it through hard work.'' As a nation that has been building its democracy for more than 200 years, we should value the words of a leader of a young democracy.
I would like to wish the people and government of Kazakhstan success in their efforts. Future successes of a democratic and free Republic of Kazakhstan directly benefit the United States, as it will help ensure stability and prosperity of Central Asia, a region extremely important in our fight against international terrorism.
I have no doubt that the United States and Kazakhstan will continue to closely cooperate in ensuring stability and security in the world, and our cooperation, which has tremendous potential, will deepen and bring about fruitful interaction in an international situation that is increasingly complex. The U.S. Congress should play a key role in this endeavor.
Mr. Speaker, I believe we are at an important juncture in the relationship between the United States and Kazakhstan . We have an opportunity to remain engaged in the region. I strongly believe that we should acknowledge Kazakhstan's achievements and support them in their efforts to continue with reforms.