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U.S.-Mongolia Relations

Fact Sheet released by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, October 1, 1996.

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The United States established diplomatic relations with Mongolia on January 27, 1987, and opened its embassy in Ulaanbaatar in 1988. Mongolia accredited its first ambassador to the U.S. in March 1989. Relations accelerated dramatically following the peaceful democratic changes in Mongolia which began in the spring of 1990. Demonstrations in sub-zero weather culminated with the resignation of the Communist Party Politburo, legalization of other political parties, pluralistic elections, and the writing of a new constitution. On June 30, 1996, in dramatic elections with a turnout of more than 90%, Mongolia's democratic opposition swept 50 of 76 seats, solidifying the country's transition to democracy.

Political Relations

The United States and Mongolia enjoy strong and stable political relations. The U.S. has made clear its firm support for Mongolia's democratic and economic reforms. The driving force in the early years of the relationship were spurred by visits of Secretary of State Baker (1990 and 1991) and the first-ever visit by a Mongolian President to the White House in January 1991. Secretary Christopher has cited Mongolia as an example of simultaneous political freedom and economic development, and evidence that civil and political rights are universal, rather than simply Western values.

Military-to-military contacts have also become an important feature of the relationship. In June, the U.S. and Mongolia signed an agreement on military exchanges and visits. U.S. Army engineers built a gymnasium at a school for gifted students in the summer of 1994, and a second group of engineers returned the following year to work on improvements at the same school. U.S. military cooperation will remain non-lethal and humanitarian.

Economic Relations

When the Mongolian economy went into free fall following the abrupt withdrawal of Soviet aid, the U.S. and Japan took the lead role in establishing an international "Donors Group" to bring emergency assistance to Mongolia. By the end of 1996, the U.S. will have given $35 million to Mongolia's energy sector, and donations of U.S.Department of Agriculture commodities will have exceeded $20 million. There are 32 Peace Corps volunteers now in Mongolia, working mainly on English teaching and small business development.

The United States granted Mongolia MFN status in 1991, the same year a bilateral Treaty of Trade and Commerce was signed. In October 1994, the United States and Mongolia concluded a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), the first such agreement the U.S. reached in Asia. The ratification of the agreement this past July should make Mongolia more attractive to U.S. investors.

The past three years have seen a sharp growth in cultural and scientific contacts. Aside from scientific cooperation on dinosaur hunting, carried out by the American Museum of Natural History, government contacts include: establishment of a seismic monitoring station with funding from the U.S. Geological Survey, a remote sensing center using National Air and Space Administration-supplied equipment, air monitoring, and global climate change programs run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Science Foundation.

Our cultural programs which are the newest part of our embassy (dating only from 1993) last year helped to bring to this country the largest exhibit of Mongolian art ever seen in the United States. The exhibit opened in San Francisco and was seen in Washington at the National Geographic Society in the spring of 1996. We have established a Fulbright program and are working on a number of educational and scientific exchanges.

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