National Day of Kyrgyzstan

Article excerpt

Kyrgyzstan is a country located in Central Asia. Landlocked and mountainous, it borders Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest, and the People's Republic of China to the southeast Bishkek is the capital and largest city.

The Kyrgyz, a Muslim people who speak a Turkic language that is also called Kyrgyz, constitute a majority of the population of Kyrgyzstan. Uzbeks and Russians form the largest ethnic minorities. Kyrgyzstan became part of the Russian Empire in the late 1800s. In 1924, it became an autonomous region of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). In 1936, its status was upgraded to make it one of the 15 constituent republics of the USSR. Officially known as the Kirgiz Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR), it was also known as Kirgizia. Kyrgyzstan became an independent nation in 1991. In 1993, the country ratified its first post-Soviet constitution.

Agriculture is an important sector of the economy in the Kyrgyz Republic. By the early 1990s, the private agricultural sector provided between one-third and one-half of some harvests. The Kyrgyz Republic's terrain is mountainous, which accommodates livestock raising, the largest agricultural activity. Thus, wool, meat, and dairy products are major commodities. Main crops include wheat, sugar beets, potatoes, cotton, tobacco, vegetables, and fruit. As the prices of imported agrichemicals and petroleum are so high, much farming is done by hand and by horse, as it was generations ago. Agricultural processing is a key component of the industrial economy, as well as one of the most attractive sectors for foreign investment.

The Kyrgyz Republic is rich in mineral resources. Among its mineral reserves are substantial deposits of coal, gold, uranium, antimony, and other rare-earth metals. Metallurgy is an important industry, and the government hopes to attract foreign investment in this field. The government has actively encouraged foreign involvement in extracting and processing of gold. The Kyrgyz Republic's plentiful water resources and mountainous terrain enable it to produce and export large quantities.

We congratulate the people and government of Kyrgyzstan led by Their Excellencies, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and Prime Igor Chudinov, on the occasion of their National Day.

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