Kyrgyzstan plans to shut US military airbase

Kyrgyzstan plans to shut a U.S. military airbase, a source close to President's administration said.

Kyrgyzstan plans to shut US military airbase

Kyrgyzstan plans to shut a U.S. military airbase, a source close to President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's administration said on Tuesday.

Washington established the airbase in Kyrgyzstan in 2001 to support operations in its war in nearby Afghanistan. Russian media said this week Bakiyev would announce the closure of the base before his visit to Moscow later this month.

"This is true," the source told Reuters. "A statement (on the closure of the air base) is being prepared."

Bakiyev's administration, the Kyrgyz government and the U.S. embassy in Kyrgyzstan have declined to comment on the reports.

Bakiyev plans to meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, but the exact date of his visit has not yet been set.

Russia, which also has a military airbase in the former Soviet republic, has expressed its unease over the U.S. presence in what it sees as its area of strategic interest.

Many Kyrgyz have mixed feelings about the presence of U.S. troops in their homeland since 2006, when a U.S. airman shot dead a Kyrgyz man in an incident at the base.

The government has so far rejected calls to evict U.S. troops and has defended the base's importance.

Reuters
Last Mod: 13 Ocak 2009, 15:34
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