Kyrgyz President Sadr Japarov criticized the US Secretary of State for criticizing a proposed law on foreign agents.
Washington should review NGOs it funds in Kyrgyzstan for possible corruption rather than support its claims that it is persecuting them in Bishkek, President Sadr Japarov wrote in response to concerns expressed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the Central Asian country's treatment of American organizations. He also urged Washington to stop interfering in his country's internal affairs.
In a rare diplomatic move on Monday, the Kyrgyz president's spokesman released the full text of the diplomatic letter sent to Blinken on Friday. This was his response to a critical letter he received from the head of the US State Department in mid-January.
According to local media reports, the top US diplomat expressed concern about legislation proposed by Kyrgyzstan that would tighten oversight of foreign-funded NGOs, potentially preventing them from participating in domestic politics. In response, Japarov said that Blinken's intervention showed “Signs of interference in the internal affairs of our state.”
The Kyrgyz bill would create a state-run registration body for NGOs that receive foreign funding. Blinken reportedly warned Japarov that if signed into law, Kyrgyz citizens would lose access to Western-funded education and health care programs, as some local organizations would rather close their doors than continue to operate under the proposed rules.
The President claimed that some local NGOs and media had been attacking the bill for a period of time “Fear of real tax control by the state.” He suggested that the US State Department had been deceived by the nefarious beneficiaries of US grants.
Over the past three decades, a “class” of non-governmental/non-profit organizations receiving funding from abroad has emerged in our country (called in Kyrgyz society “grant eaters”), which their leaders have transformed into, in fact, into “family foundations.” “, engaged in “disposal” of funds coming from foreign sponsors. Read the message.
He urged Blinken to order a review of NGO finances over the past 10 years to verify how US money was spent before jumping to conclusions.
Japarov stated that the system his country plans to implement is similar to the system that the United States has followed since 1938, when the Foreign Agents Registration Act was signed into law.
“In this regard, the question can only be asked: Why is it possible for you, and not for us?” The letter asked.
The amendments were first proposed to Parliament last year and have since been approved on first reading. The majority of MPs support the bill, although some have criticized it because it gives authorities too much discretion in determining what actions may be considered illegal. Opponents of the legislation warned that imprecise wording carries the risk of corruption.
Japarov told Blinken that among the thousands of NGOs working in Kyrgyzstan, there were only a few “troublemakers.” They are allegedly trying to protect their corruption under the guise of defending civil society.
“My only request is that no one interfere in the internal affairs of our country.” he wrote.
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