Kyrgyzstan MPs approve US air base closure

The decision was passed by 78 votes to 1 against by the legislature dominated by the ruling Ak Zhol party.

Kyrgyzstan MPs approve US air base closure
Kyrgyzstan's parliament voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to approve a government proposal to close a U.S. air base in the Central Asian nation.

The decision was passed by 78 votes to 1 against by the legislature dominated by the ruling Ak Zhol party.

Manas is the last remaining U.S. air base in Central Asia.

"Once all the procedures are over, an official eviction vote will be sent and after that the United States will be given 180 days to wrap up operations at the air base," Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Kadyrbek Sarbayev told journalists after the vote.

He could not say when President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was expected to sign the approved decision into law but under Kyrgyz that should happen within a month.

Bakiyev announced the closure plans this month after accepting more than $2 billion in aid and credit from traditional ally Russia. He has accused Washington of refusing to pay more rent for use of the base.

Russia has an air base of its own in Kyrgyzstan, located in Kant just a few dozens kilometres away from Manas.

The United States has been looking at alternative supply lines for the ongoing occupation of landlocked Afghanistan as existing routes via Pakistan have become increasingly vulnerable to attacks.

U.S. regional military chief General David Petraeus visited Uzbekistan this week for this aim.

One of the alternative routes, through Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, will soon be tested when a first shipment of non-military goods leaves NATO member Latvia for Afghanistan via their territories.

Reuters
Last Mod: 19 Şubat 2009, 12:52
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