Mr. Speaker, I rise today in celebration of 20 years of U.S.-Uzbekistan diplomatic relations.
When the United States of America established diplomatic relations with Uzbekistan on February 19, 1992, we were dealing with a newly reborn country that had just gained back its independence from the Soviet Union. Although Uzbekistan has a history that is thousands of years old, it faced many difficulties during the first years of its independence.
Today, Uzbekistan has managed to make significant progress in every field including politics, economics, and international relations. Working to build a foundation based on established legislative, executive, and judicial branches of power, Uzbekistan is transitioning to democracy and, in so doing, is raising its unique historical heritage and national identity.
I am extremely pleased by the high level of cooperation between Uzbekistan and the U.S. in the areas of regional security, the fight against transnational threats, and the deepening of political and economic consultations. U.S. companies are also expanding their presence in Uzbekistan, including General Motors.
The U.S. is particularly appreciative of Uzbekistan's assistance in our efforts in Afghanistan. Uzbekistan is also building railroads and bridges and providing low price electricity and other bilateral assistance to Afghanistan, which is also critical to U.S. interests.
So, once more, I congratulate the government and people of Uzbekistan for all they are doing to support the U.S., and I applaud President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for strengthening U.S.-Uzbekistan relations.
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