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U.S. Congress to enhance direct dialogue with parliaments of Central Asian states, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia says.

U.S. Congress intends to enhance direct dialogue with the legislatures of the Central Asian states and will be inviting parliamentary delegations from Central Asia to visit Washington in the coming months, according to Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia. "I think it's extremely important for the executive branch, the State Department, but in addition, the legislative branch, the United States Senate and the United States House to have a relationship with the legislative bodies in those countries," Burton told Silk Road Newsline in an interview in his Capitol Hill office. "Many of those countries are fledgling democracies, and they have legislative branches that are looking for additional ways that they can be of service to their constituencies and to their country. And so a dialog between the United States Congress and those legislative bodies in those countries is extremely important because it builds friendships, it builds relationships that could be of long-term duration and could be helpful in making sure that there is stability in the region." In July, Burton led a U.S. Congressional delegation that visited Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. "One of the things that I stressed everywhere we went, when we met with the legislative leaders, the speakers of the houses and so forth, was that we should build a strong relationship, invite them here, in fact we are going to invite some of the countries to come, send a delegation here and that we continue to send Congressmen and senators over there," Burton said. "We've neglected a large part of Central Asia and that should not happen. I was so amazed when I talked to some of them, said we've never had a Congressional Delegation here before and I was thinking what a way to run foreign policy when you don't even know one another. So I think that's extremely important." One of the first parliamentary delegations from Central Asia to pay a reciprocal visit to Washington will be a high-level parliamentary delegation from Kyrgyzstan, Silk Road Newsline has learned. Burton's subcommittee conducts oversight of key aspects of U.S. foreign policy in Central Asia. While in the region, Burton's delegation also met with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and Uzbek President Islam Karimov. "We met with the presidents of every country that we went to and I was very impressed. You have a predetermined idea of what the countries look like and what the cities look like and what the leaders will look like, but until you go over there, you really don't have an idea. And so I was very impressed with the countries we visited. I was impressed with the leaders," Burton said. Representative Dan Burton represents the Fifth Congressional District of Indiana and serves as a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and as one of the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Central Asia.

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Publication:AKIpress News Agency
Date:Sep 17, 2012
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