Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, April 25, 2006

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Update on U.S.-Central Asia Policy
Ros-Lehtinen Schedules Wednesday Hearing

BACKGROUND – Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States recognized the independence of all the former Central Asian republics and supported their admission into Western organizations. Congress was at the forefront in urging the formation of coherent U.S. policies for aiding these and other Eurasian states. Soon after the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, all the Central Asian states offered overflight and other support including operational bases to coalition anti-terrorist efforts in Afghanistan. Heightened congressional interest in Central Asia was reflected in passage of "Silk Road" language in late 1999 (P.L. 106-113) authorizing enhanced U.S. policy attention and aid to support conflict amelioration, humanitarian needs, economic development, transport (including energy pipelines) and communications, border controls, democracy, and the creation of civil societies in the South Caucasian and Central Asian states. Foreign Operations Appropriations for FY2006 was signed into law in 2005 (H.R. 3057; P.L. 109-102). The Act (H.Rept. 109-265) calls for $25 million in Freedom Support Act aid to Kazakhstan, $25 million to Kyrgyzstan, $24 million to Tajikistan, $5 million to Turkmenistan, and $20 million to Uzbekistan. The law continues prior year language conditioning aid to the governments of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan on progress in democratization and respect for human rights, and adds that the Uzbek Government should permit an international investigation of the mid-2005 violence against civilians in Andijon. Some observers call for different emphases or levels of U.S. involvement in Central Asia, including calls for strengthening conditions linking aid to progress in improving human rights or in making adequate progress in democratization and the creation of free markets. Some have disputed the importance of the region’s energy resources to U.S. national security. Others point to civil and ethnic tensions in the region as possibly endangering U.S. lives and investments.

WHAT:                             Subcommittee Hearing:
                            U.S. Policy in Central Asia: Balancing Priorities (Part II)

Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia
                           U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chair

WHEN:                             2 p.m., Wednesday, April 26, 2006

WHERE:                           Room 2255 of the Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES:                   Panel I:
                                          The Honorable Richard A. Boucher,
Assistant Secretary,
                                          Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs,
                                          U.S. Department of State;

                                          Mr. Drew W. Luten,
Acting Assistant Administrator,
                                          Bureau for Europe and Eurasia,
                                          U.S. Agency for International Development; and

                                          The Honorable James McDougal,
Deputy Assistant Secretary,
                                          U.S. Department of Defense;

                                          Panel II:
                                          Ms. Lisa Davis,
Director of RIGHTS Program,
                                          Freedom House;

                                          Ms. Elizabeth Dugan,
Vice President, International Republican Institute; and

                                          Ms. Martha Brill Olcott,
Senior Associate – Russian and Eurasian Program,
                                          Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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