WASHINGTON -- Sanjaagiin Bayar, the new Prime Minister of Mongolia; G.Batkhuu, Vice Speaker of the Mongolian Parliament; Bekhbat Khasbazar, Mongolian Ambassador to the United States; and a delegation of ten other Mongolian leaders came to the Department of the Interior headquarters today for the signing of a conservation agreement between their nation and the United States.
In the memorandum of understanding signed by the Ambassador and Lyle Laverty, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Department of the Interior and the Mongolian Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism agree to promote bilateral cooperation and exchanges in the field of wildlife conservation and protected natural areas. The MOU will facilitate exchange of information and allow the provision of training and technical assistance, while specifying that cooperation is voluntary and subject to the availability of funds and personnel.
Expressing confidence that this exchange would facilitate other areas of cooperation, Prime Minister Bayar envisioned “expanding relationships with the United States to cover other vital issues.”
“It is a great honor to welcome you to Interior. This agreement will build a new chapter of cooperation in wildlife and resource management,” said Kaush Arha, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Fish, Wildlife and Parks. “Few countries match the beauty and splendor of natural resources and wildlife in Mongolia.”
From the Gobi Desert to the central Asian steppe to the coniferous forests of Siberia’s taiga, Mongolia encompasses a variety of zones, plants and animals including some that have disappeared from other nations. Endangered species include marmots, argali sheep, saiga antelope, red deer, bears, and snow leopards.
Assistant Secretary Laverty told the story of the recovery of the bison as a symbol of America and of the Department of the Interior, prompting Prime Minister Bayar to note similarities with an animal from Mongolia, the yak.
“The more we share, the more we learn,” said C. Stephen Allred, Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, who said the MOU was a starting point and that the nations could also share information in the future on land management for energy resources.”