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Kyrgyzstan is going to revise soon the terms of the presence on its soil of an air base of the international antiterrorist coalition
Kyrgyzstan is going to revise soon the terms of the presence on its soil of an air base of the international antiterrorist coalition, the bulk of which are servicemen and aircraft of the US Air Force, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said at his joint news conference with Prime Minister Feliks Kulov on Wednesday. Bakiyev said that experts of Kyrgyzstan and the US were looking into details of this issue. “According to our information, the air base has paid less taxes and incurred less losses than it is shown in its reports”, the president said. He added that the situation in the world had changed since the stationing of the base in Kyrgyzstan, and it was necessary to discuss more correct bilateral relations “in accordance with all world standards”. Bakiyev said that the matter of the air base’s presence in the Central Asian republic “is not acute, and we have made up our mind on it”. During the visit of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Kyrgyzstan on October 11, the sides signed a statement saying that Kyrgyzstan’s leadership “supports the presence of the coalition forces in the republic until the mission of fighting terrorism in Afghanistan, the mission supported by the UN, is completed”. At the same time, the document stressed that the governments of the US and Kyrgyzstan “express their readiness to review the transparency of funds invested for the use of the Manas airport and simultaneously discuss other organisational and technical questions”. After the terrorist acts in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, the US asked Kyrgyzstan’s leadership to provide the republic’s air space for the counter-terrorist operation in Afghanistan. The then president Askar Akayev consented, and an agreement on the deployment of US warplanes at the Manas airport was signed in December 2001. The one-year accord can be prolonged. Kyrgyzstan that has no border with Afghanistan, but is close to it has been the first Central Asian republic to allow the use of its territory for the military operations in Afghanistan. The Manas airport is located 10 kilometres east of the capital Bishkek. It has been used as a civil airport for more than 30 years. Its runway is the longest in Central Asia. American servicemen came to the Manas air base on December 16, 2001.
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