BISHKEK. Kyrgyz foreign minister, Askar Aitmatov, and U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, John O'Keefe, held a joint press conference in Bishkek today. They said that both countries remain close allies in fighting international terrorism despite some differences over the war in Iraq. Aitmatov said: "I don't see any reason why the differences that exist between us (U.S. and Kyrgyzstan) on the Iraqi issue should cause a cooling of relations between our two countries."
He also said that Kyrgyzstan has been and remains committed to maintaining constructive cooperation and strategic partnership with the United States of America in all priority areas. Kyrgyzstan will contribute humanitarian aid during the rebuilding processes in Iraq after the war, Kyrgyz minister said.
U.S. Ambassador O'Keefe told journalists: "Our relations with Kyrgyzstan and the people of Kyrgyzstan are very broad, very deep and very solid."
Meanwhile, the Mufti of Kyrgyzstan's Muslims, Hajji Murataaly Juman-Uulu, told RFE/RL today that the Kyrgyz Muslims don't support an appeal made by one of the Russian Federation Muftis, Talgat Tajuddin, to the Muslims of his country to start a holy war (Jihad) against the USA. Particularly, Juman-Uulu said: "I can not say "right" or "wrong" about (the appeal by mufti of Russia). My opinion about the Kyrgyz state and the Kyrgyz Muslims is that nobody from the our muftiyat (Religious Board of Kyrgyz Muslims), (ordinary) Muslims, imams and mosque staff has any idea about jihad against America in connection with the Iraqi war. This is the first thing. Secondly, we are against this ongoing war (in Iraq)." He said that the Kyrgyz Muslims are praying, asking the God to help end this war as soon as possible.