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Global Mountain Summit
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Global Mountain Summit

San Francisco Peaks near Grand Canyon   Excerpts from Final Press Release    

At the conclusion of the Bishkek Mountain Summit a final press release discussed progress made on securing funding to clean up dangerous nuclear waste dumps near the town of Maily-Suu.

"Action to prevent a potentially devastating environmental disaster in one of the most densely populated areas of Central Asia was announced here in the final hours of the Bishkek Global Mountain Summit.

The Chairman of the Summit, President of Kyrgyzstan, Askar Akaev, told journalists that the government of Norway has offered to help clean up dangerous nuclear waste dumps near the town of Maily-Suu, high up in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan.

The waste, stored in deteriorating tailings dams, threatens to spill into rivers that flow from Kyrgyzstan into the fertile Fergana valley below (much of it in neighboring Uzbekistan), and home to almost 20 per cent of Central Asia's entire population.

President Akaev said "ten million people were threatened by the waste", and that the support from Norway and other donors showed how "attitudes were changing towards mountain countries". He said the new initiative demonstrated "an example of concrete action" as a result of the International Year of Mountains and the Bishkek Summit.

Mountain areas cover 26 percent of the Earth's land surface and host 12 percent of its people. They provide essential resources for both mountain and lowland people, including fresh water for at least half of humanity, critical reserves of biodiversity, food, forests and minerals. According to the Bishkek Platform, climate change, natural hazards and other forces are threatening the complex webs of life that mountains support."