Diplomatic relations between the Kyrgyz Republic and the United States have been established on December 27th, 1991. The United States were among the first countries to recognize the independence of Kyrgyzstan.
The Embassy of the USA in Kyrgyzstan was opened on February 1, 1992. The same year the Embassy of Kyrgyzstan was opened in the United States.
On December 31, 2014 by the Decree of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic A.Atambaev, Toktogulov Kadyr Mirbekovich was appointed as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United States of America. Earlier the ambassadors of the Kyrgyz Republic in the US were: M.Dzhumaliev (2010 – 2014), Z.Sydykova (2005-2010), B.Abdrisaev (1996-2005), R.Otunbaeva (1992-1994).
Sheila Gwaltney serves as the new US Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan since September 2015. Earlier, US Ambassadors to the Kyrgyz Republic were: R.Miles, Charge d’affaires (February-September 2015), P.Spratlen (2011-2014), T.Gfeller (2008-2011), M.Yovanovich (2005-2008), S.Yang (2003-2005), Dzh.Okif (2000-2003 ) E.Sigmund (1997-2000), A.Malloy (1994-1997), E.Hёrvitts (1992-1994).
Creation of the US Congress parliamentary group “Great Silk Road”, headed by Senator S.Brownback has contributed significantly to the development of mutually beneficial relations between Kyrgyzstan and the US. The group lobbied for increased cooperation of the US with the Central Asian countries, in particular with Kyrgyzstan. The group helped in 1998 to repeal “the Jackson-Vanik amendment” in relation to the Kyrgyz Republic, as well as assisted Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the WTO.
After September 11, 2001, Kyrgyzstan has actively cooperated with the US on regional security issues and the fight against international terrorism. Kyrgyzstan has placed “Ganci” airbase at the airport “Manas” based on the 2001 agreement, which was denounced in 2009. On June 22nd 2009, new agreement between the Governments of Kyrgyzstan and the US on Transit Center “Manas” was signed, which was valid until July 2014.
Active political cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and the United States continued after the events of April 7-8, 2010. The United States actively supported the Kyrgyz Republic, which was confirmed by a succession of several visits by US Officials. Only in the second half of 2010, 15 visits to Kyrgyzstan were held by US officials and delegations at various levels, including working visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in December 2010. At the same time President of the Kyrgyz Republic R.Otunbaeva has paid visits to the USA in September 2010 and March 2011.
In 2012, the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic became a partner of the “Partnership for Democracy” Commission of the US House of Representatives. As part of this Partnership, in 2012-2015 several dozen of members of Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic as well as employees of the Kyrgyzstan’s parliament visited the United States.
In September 2012, Speaker of the Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic A.Zheenbekov visited Washington DC and New York, during which he held meetings with the leaders of Congress, different ministries and important US NGOs.
In 2013 there were two working visits to the US by the chairman of the Jogorku Kenesh Committee on Foreign Affairs K.Imanaliev, during which he held a series of meetings with Congress and other government and non-governmental organizations in the United States.
From June 25 to 26 2015, at the invitation of the Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia of the US House of Representatives, a working visit to the US by members of the Jogorku Kenesh Committee on Foreign Relations headed by its chairman K.Imanalievym was held. During the visit Kyrgyzstan’s parliamentary delegation held meetings in the Congress and the US State Department, also it met with the leadership of the “Open World” Centre at the Library of Congress, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and the American Council for International Education (ACCELS).
Total for 2011-2015 4 US congressmen visited Kyrgyzstan while 11 members of the Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic visited the United States.
Permanent political dialogue between Kyrgyzstan and the United States is supported through Annual Bilateral Consultations. So far there have been three Consultations with last one held in Washington DC on April 9-10, 2015.
Trade and economic cooperation
Trade and economic relations of Kyrgyzstan and the United States are regulated by WTO agreements, and countries offer most-favored nation treatment. The regulatory framework governing economic and trade relations between the two countries, includes following agreements: on trade relations; on investment promotion; on investment protection from May 8, 1992; on encouragement and mutual protection of investments from January 19, 1993; the further development of bilateral cooperation and support of economic reforms in the Kyrgyz Republic on February 15, 2002; support for economic reforms and the management of the Fund of Economic Development from October 25, 2010.
In 1998, Congress passed a law granting normal trade relations (NTR) to Kyrgyzstan (removal of Jackson-Vanik amendment).
Statistics on Trade and Investment
Foreign trade turnover according to the National Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic for January-December 2014 amounted to 237.1 million USD, including exports to the US at 2.5 million USD and import from the US at 234.6 million USD.
The share of trade with the US in the total foreign trade turnover of Kyrgyzstan is 3.1%.
The main items of exports from Kyrgyzstan in the United States are: inorganic chemical products, leather products, natural and artificial fur, carpets and rugs, knitting and textile clothing, made-up textile articles, articles from ferrous metals. Imports – cars, pharmaceuticals and equipment, meat, earthmoving machinery.
Foreign direct investment from the United States in January-December 2014 amounted to 8.9 million US Dollars. The priority activities for investments from the United States in recent years is the sphere of finance and the service sector.
The US is one of the major donors of official development assistance to Kyrgyzstan. Since the independence of Kyrgyzstan, total aid received from the United States amounted to about 1.5 billion US Dollars. Gratuitously transferred property over the years is just over 400 million US dollars.
The total amount of official development assistance for Kyrgyzstan requested the US State Department and USAID for 2016 fiscal year is about 50 million US dollars. Among the countries of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan is the largest recipient of the official US aid.
Cultural and humanitarian cooperation
Cultural and humanitarian sphere is one of the most rewarding aspects of bilateral cooperation between the two countries. It is carried out through various programs, including programs of USAID, US Peace Corps, “Open World” at the Library of the US Congress, American Councils for International Education (ACCELS), etc.
In recent years the Embassy has organized a number of exhibitions of handicraft products with the participation of Kyrgyz artisans, performances of musicians from Kyrgyzstan at different events with the participation of the United States officials, a contest of children’s drawings with the participation of Kyrgyz children including adopted by American families, and display collections of the national women’s clothing.
It is worth noting that Embassy was part of the “Around the world embassy tour” DC cultural program in 2013 and 2014, when Embassy was visited by about 4,500 and 8,500 accordingly. During the visit people learned about the culture, customs and traditions of the Kyrgyz people.
Cooperation with the Diaspora
In recent years, a special role in the development of bilateral Kyrgyz-American relations is played by various associations of Kyrgyzstani compatriots in the United States.
Kyrgyz Associations take an active part in strengthening the social, humanitarian, cultural and economic cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and the United States, by implementing various social and charity projects for children and children’s homes, promotion of culture and traditions, sports, etc.
The active participation of associations is also taking various social and political events. On a regular basis meetings are held between the representatives of the Diaspora and the official authorities of the Kyrgyz Republic.
To date, the US Embassy in the Kyrgyz Republic registered about 4,000 Kyrgyz citizens. However, these figures do not reflect the actual number of citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic in the USA and Canada, as registration at the Embassy is voluntary. The qualitative composition of Kyrgyzstan in the United States is mainly represented by students, and workers in the service sector. At the same time there are Kyrgyz citizens working at the world-famous companies and organizations that lead their own businesses.