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USA loses air base in Kyrgyzstan to Russia

Posted by Kris Roman on February 1, 2009

USA’s army base in Kyrgyzstan (an Asian republic of the Soviet Union) will be closed. The adequate agreement was achieved as a result of the talks between the presidents of the two countries, Dmitry Medvedev and Kurmanbek Bakiyev. It is worthy of note that the Kyrgyz administration previously announced that there would be no such statements made in Moscow.

 

“The government of Kyrgyzstan decided to cease the use of the Manas base by the armed forces of the coalition,” Itar-Tass quoted the Kyrgyz president as saying. The president added that the decision was based on economic issues and the generally negative attitude to the operation of the base in the country.

The Kyrgyz president reminded that his nation signed the agreement regarding the army base in 2001, when Afghanistan was in a state of war.

“Kyrgyzstan met the wishes of the United States and offered its territory for the anti-terrorist struggle, which was a serious contribution to the struggle. We talked about a year or two, but now it has been eight years. We have repeatedly discussed the questions of the economic compensation to Kyrgyzstan with American partners, but have not been able to come to understanding at this point,” the Kyrgyz president said.

“All of that echoed negatively in the society, and people started to question the operation of the base. The government of Kyrgyzstan decided to stop the use of the base, and you will see the government taking adequate measures soon,” Bakiyev said.

The US air base opened in Kyrgyzstan in 2001 under the UN mandate to support the coalition-run anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan. Over a thousand US servicemen and war planes are currently deployed at the base.

David Petraeus, chief of the U.S. military’s Central Command, said after his visit to Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, that the US administration would like to improve the advantages of the US army base in Kyrgyzstan. A special committee will arrive in Kyrgyzstan to discuss possible cooperation programs, Petraeus said. The official added that Kyrgyzstan received $150 million from the USA every year in aid. About $63 million of the amount is used to support the work of the air base. The US government hoped to enlarge the military contingent at the base in connection with the ongoing worsening of the situation in Afghanistan.

The USA continues to use the Manas base at the moment, Itar-Tass reports with reference to an anonymous official at the Pentagon. The US Defense Department paid attention to the news about the decision of the Kyrgyz government to close the Manas base. However, the Pentagon has not received any official notification of that.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said that the United States was hoping to continue the use of the base in Kyrgyzstan to support the US-led terrorist operations.

In the meantime, Russia will give two-billion-dollar loans to Kyrgyzstan and provide a financial assistance to the country in the amount of $150 million. “The funds will be used to stabilize the budget of Kyrgyzstan and develop the key infrastructure objects, particularly in the field of hydroenergetics,” Russian President Medvedev said after the talks.

The loans, Medvedev said, will be meant to confirm the allied relations between the two countries. “The current situation in the world is quite complicated, the state of affairs in Russia is difficult too as it is in other countries, but, nevertheless, we think it is important to strengthen the economic ties with Kyrgyzstan and run large investment projects which contribute to the social and economic development of the region,” Interfax quoted Medvedev as saying.

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