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IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Wednesday, August 1, 2001
2001 Ron Paul 69:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of my colleagues to the Op Ed article Crazy for Kazakhstan — Asian nation of vital interest by former Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson published in The Washington Times on July 30, 2001. Mr. Richardson has been working with countries of Central Asia, particularly with oil rich Kazakhstan, for a long time and has an extensive expertise in the region. I think we can rely on his assessments. In the article he outlines achievements of Kazakhstan and defines this country one of the promising of all the countries rising from the ashes of the Soviet Union.
2001 Ron Paul 69:2
Indeed, Kazakhstan, despite the difficulties of its transition period, has carried out large scale economic and political reforms, especially when compared to the rest of the newly independent states.
2001 Ron Paul 69:3
Kazakhstan is a young country located in a critically strategic region with rough neighbors and it is crucial for the U.S. to work with this country both politically and economically to ensure their security, independence and progressive development.
2001 Ron Paul 69:4
This year is the 10th anniversary of Kazakhstans independence and during this period Kazakhstan has shown its commitment to work with the U.S. in many areas, including sensitive ones, and has proven to be our reliable partner.
2001 Ron Paul 69:5
Mr. Speaker, I agree with Mr. Richardson that this key Central Asian country is of great importance to U.S. interests. Kazakhstan in many ways should be seen as our natural ally in the region. The time has come for the U.S. to pay closer attention to this country and be more engaged with it. For this reason I cosponsored the legislation (H.R. 1318) that would grant permanent trade relations to Kazakhstan.
2001 Ron Paul 69:6
I submit the full text of this article from The Washington Times to be placed in the RECORD.
2001 Ron Paul 69:7
CRAZY FOR KAZAKHSTAN
(By Bill Richardson)
2001 Ron Paul 69:8
From its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 to the Present, Kazak leaders have made the difficult and controversial decisions necessary to bring their country into the 21st century. In May 1992, President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced that Kazakhstan would unilaterally disarm all of its nuclear weapons. In the aftermath of the Soviet Unions collapse, Kazakhstan was left with the fourth-largest nuclear arsenal in the world, a tempting target for terrorists and other extremists. Mr. Nazarbayevs courageous decision to disarm in the face of opposition from Islamic nationalists and potential regional instability was one of the fundamental building blocks that have allowed Kazakhstan to emerge as a strong, stable nation and a leader in Central Asia. Then-President George Bush hailed the decision as a momentous stride toward peace and stability.
2001 Ron Paul 69:9
Since that time, Central Asia has become an increasingly complex region. Russia is reemerging from its post-Soviet economic crises and is actively looking for both economic opportunities in Central Asia as well as to secure its political influence over the region. China is rapidly expanding its economic power and political influence in the region. Iran, despite recent progress made by moderate elements in the government, is still a state sponsor of terrorism and is actively working to develop weapons of mass destruction. Many of the other former Soviet republics have become havens for religious extremists, terrorists, drug cartels and transit points for smugglers of all kind.
2001 Ron Paul 69:10
In the center of this conflict and instability Kasakhstan has begun to prosper by working to build a modern economy, developing its vast natural resources and providing a base of stability in a very uncertain part of the world. With the discovery of the massive Kashagan oil field in the Kazak portion of the Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan is poised to become a major supplier of petroleum to the Western World and a competitor to Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). It is critical that we continue to facilitate western companies investment in Kazakhstan and the establishment of secure, east-west pipeline routes for Kazak oil. This is the only way for Kazakhstan to loosen its dependence on Russia for transit rights for its oil and gas and secure additional, much needed, oil for the world market.
2001 Ron Paul 69:11
American policy in the region must be based on the complex geopolitics of Central Asia and provide the support required to enable these countries to reach their economic potential. We must continue to give top priority to the development of Kazakhstans oil and gas industries and to the establishment of east-west transportation corridors for Caspian oil and gas. We must also remain committed to real support for local political leadership, fostering rule of law and economic reforms and to helping mitigate and solve the lingering ethnic and nationalistic conflicts in the region. Only through meaningful and substantial cooperation with Kazakhstan, will we be able to realize these goals.
2001 Ron Paul 69:12
There are many challenges ahead for Kazakhstan, but there are enormous opportunities for economic and political progress. Mr. Nazarbayev has taken advantage of Kazakhstans stability to begin transforming its economy from the old Soviet form giant, state-owned industries and collective grain farms into a modern, market-based economy. We have much at stake in this development. Will Kazakhstan become a true market- oriented democracy, or will it slip into economic stagnation and ethnic violence like so many of its neighbor? The stability of Central Asia and the Caucasus depends on how Kazakhstan chooses to move forward. The United States must do its part to enhance U.S.-Kazakhstancooperation and encourage prosperity and stability for the entire region.