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Rice Expresses Appreciation for Kyrgyzstan's Transfer of Refugees

29 July 2005

U.S., U.N. continue to advocate for transfer of remaining Uzbek refugees

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed her appreciation to Kyrgyzstan’s president-elect, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, for his government’s decision to allow the transfer of 439 Uzbek asylum seekers from Kyrgyzstan to Romania, according to State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

The asylum seekers will temporarily remain in Romania while the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) arranges permanent resettlement.

In a July 29 statement, McCormack said that 15 Uzbek asylum seekers remain in Kyrgyzstan.  He said the United States and UNHCR will continue to strongly advocate their transfer to a third country for resettlement processing.

Following is the text of his statement:

(begin text)

U.S. Department of State
July 29, 2005
Statement by Sean McCormack, Spokesman

KYRGYZ REPUBLIC FACILITATES HUMANITARIAN TRANSFER OF UZBEK ASYLUM SEEKERS

The Secretary called Kyrgyz President-elect Kurmanbek Bakiyev this morning to express appreciation for the Kyrgyz government's decision to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to transfer 439 asylum seekers from Kyrgyz Republic to Romania today.  The asylum seekers, who had sought initial refuge in the Kyrgyz Republic, will remain in Romania on a temporary basis while the UNHCR arranges permanent resettlement in third countries.

By providing sanctuary for the asylum seekers and allowing today's humanitarian transfer, the Kyrgyz Republic has demonstrated its commitment to support international efforts to assist individuals who seek protection from persecution.  The Kyrgyz Republic deserves the thanks of all those in the international community who are committed to the U.N.'s humanitarian principles.

We and the UNHCR continue to strongly advocate for the transfer of the remaining fifteen Uzbek asylum seekers to a third country for resettlement processing.  We hope that the Kyrgyz Republic will take immediate steps to ensure that the remaining asylum seekers' human rights are fully protected.   We welcome the Kyrgyz government's pledge to consult with UNHCR before taking any action on any one of the Uzbek asylum seekers in the Kyrgyz Republic.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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