Press Releases 2010
U.S. And Russian Ambassadors Hold First Ever Joint Discussion At Slavonic University
September 29, 2010
Dushanbe, Tajikistan: U.S. Ambassador Ken Gross and Russian Ambassador Yuri Popov participated in an extraordinary joint discussion with more than 50 international relations students at Slavonic University. The two ambassadors fielded questions from students on topics such as U.S. and Russian economic assistance, border security, U.S. Iranian policy, U.S. Russian cooperation, immigration and education. Rahmon Ulmasov, head of the department of Foreign Languages at Slavonic University, moderated the discussion.
Gross and Popov both remarked about the improved relationship between Russian and the United States under the Obama administration. Ambassador Gross said, We've seen a closening of relationships at the very top, between the Russian president and the American president, and here in Dushanbe I am lucky to have Ambassador Popov as a colleague. "We have a very close relationship here as well. There are things that we can do together that benefit both countries and for other countries."
Ambassador Popov added, “The Russian Federation and the United States have restarted their relationship under the Obama administration, and now we have a spirit of healthy competition that is both transparent and non-confrontational. America and Russia are joining hands trying to make life in Tajikistan better.
Students asked questions about the investment climate in Tajikistan, the possibility of U.S. Tajik educational partnerships and how the U.S. and Russian are helping to stop terrorism in Tajikistan. On the topic of terrorism, Ambassador Gross said, "The United States has many projects that help secure the border with Afghanistan, but at the same time, Tajikistan is doing a great deal by itself to help stop the flow of terrorists into Tajikistan and to other countries. It is a joint effort, whether it is the United States and Russia sharing information we have or working together against terrorist groups that have targeted both of our countries."
Ambassador Popov said, "Terrorism is one of the most deadly threats to our governments. Tajikistan is geographically close to a center of terrorism, I imply Afghanistan, and due to this fact, both in Moscow and in Washington it is in our interest to share our preparations on this front."
Students also asked the U.S. Ambassador about U.S – Iranian relations and about the life of Muslims in America, and asked the Russian Ambassador about the tension between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. At the end, students thanked the ambassadors and asked them to consider returning to Slavonic University on September 29 of each year. Both ambassadors expressed willingness to meet again at Slavonic University and at other venues. Please find photos and videos from the event