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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks outside Synagogue in Bukhara
Bukhara, Uzbekistan, April 18, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
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SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Chief Rabbi Siyanov and Chief Rabbi Matatov have told me about their possibility to practice their religion. They said how grateful they were to be able to practice their religion after so many hundreds of years of history here in this very place. They are renovating another room, which is testament to the fact that they find their religious beliefs well respected here. They spoke to me about the tolerance in Uzbekistan now, and the fact that not only they, but Muslims and others, can practice their religion freely.

It would be wonderful if Uzbekistan could in fact serve as a model, not only for this region, but throughout the world for religious tolerance. I admire what they are doing, and I am highly honored that the Rabbi pronounced a prayer for peace, and allowed me to light a candle in memory of all those who had died during the wars.

The reason for my coming yesterday to Samarkand, today to Bukhara, was to really underline the importance of cultural traditions to the history of this region, and the important role that they play in our understanding of modern-day Uzbekistan.

[End of Document]
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