COMMENDING THE PEOPLE OF MONGOLIA ON THE 800TH ANNIVERSARY OF MONGOLIAN STATEHOOD
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Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Leach for his leadership on this issue.
I rise today in strong support of H. Res. 828, a resolution that I authored with strong bipartisan support from the members of the International Relations Committee. And I thank the committee members for their support and I thank the House leadership for bringing it to the House floor today.
America has a long and proud tradition of standing with those who stand for freedom and democracy in the world, and that is why it is altogether appropriate that we recognize the people of Mongolia on the occasion of their 800th anniversary of statehood.
The history of Mongolia is a great testament to the power of freedom. Once a communist state closely allied with the Soviet Union, Mongolia has undergone remarkable changes in recent years. After peacefully severing communist ties in 1990, the people of Mongolia have established a stable democracy in Asia.
The reforms Mongolia has undertaken have set a shining example for its region of the world. In 1992, Mongolia adopted a Constitution. Five parliamentary elections and four presidential elections have now been held in Mongolia.
I personally became involved after the parliament heard of the Contract With America in 1994 and what happened here. In the mid-1990s, they created the Contract With the Mongolia Voter. They printed 400,000 copies, distributed it by horse and yak and camel all over the country. They had a 92 percent voter turnout and swept the existing then-communist government out of power. At that point I went over with others and gave a seminar to the young members of parliament. Over half were under the age of 35. It was an inspiring experience.
Mongolia has introduced economic reforms that reflect its commitment to establishing a free market economy. In the wake of September 11, 2001, the terrorist attacks, Mongolia has been a steadfast partner in the global war on terror. Mongolia has repeatedly sent troops to serve in the cause of freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, six rotations in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are standing with us, and they have also made troop commitments to NATO to peacekeeping missions.
In an expression of our appreciation for their support, President Bush traveled to Mongolia last November, the first sitting American President ever to do so. During his visit, President Bush addressed the Mongolian people. He expressed the relationship and appreciation for the relationships our nations share. He said, ``As you build a free society in the heart of Central Asia, the American people stand with you.'' We echo those sentiments today. By passing this bipartisan resolution, we send a clear message that this House stands firmly with the people of a free and democratic Mongolia.
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