Excerpts of the interview granted by President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev to the Euronews correspondent Natasha Richardson in Munich, Germany
Eeuronews: Your country is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, and this year even presides in this union. Don’t you think that this union reflects the interests of Russia in the first place?
President: We are ready to join the European Union even today. I suggested it, but I got an open answer: we do not have common borders. Then what are you offering to us? We have 6 million people. Should we isolate ourselves and live in the jungle, or what? We need to develop, we need a market.
Euronews: How do you see the conflict in eastern Ukraine?
President: In 2010, after our revolution, we also had a conflict in June, inter-ethnic clashes were organized. I believe certain special services were behind that. But you know, our district and regional administrations were also captured. I was Prime Minister, then President, but I never called (meaning telephone calls) Moscow or Washington. I myself went to those places. And when I was told: let’s, for example, cut off a certain area, they blocked roads, let’s stop paying them pensions, turn off the electricity, I said, listen, then those people just say that we don’t speak as one country. By the way, when there was a revolution in Ukraine, I certainly supported it.
Euronews: How does your country struggle with ISIS and terrorism in general?
President: We were able to strengthen significantly our anti-terrorist center over the years, over the past years. All of these troubles, ISIS….. radical movements arise because of people’s illiteracy. In the recent years, last year, this year we are spending on education not 4-5% of our budget as other countries but 24%.
Euronews: But your country is tracking the Kyrgyz people, who, for example, go to fight in Syria?
President: Of course. We work with the countries where they are hiding, the countries that do not extradite such people. Of course, we work in this area very actively.