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Kyrgyzstan: The U.S. Air Base Shutdown

The president of Kyrgyzstan Kurmanbek Bakiev declared that American airbase will be called off Kyrgyzstan. Political intrigues around the airbase began when Bakiev became the president of Kyrgyzstan. The question about the base withdrawal was raised [en] before every trip of the Kyrgyz president to Moscow. However, this February trip became decisive.

A Little History

The American air base “Manas” began the work in December, 2001, according to the intergovernmental agreement. Originally named in the honor of the head of the New York fire service Peter Gansi. According to the American legislation, military bases outside of the USA can't be named in the honor of the American citizens, that's why the airbase was renamed to “Manas” (the epic famous Kyrgyz hero). The main task of the base are the transmission of soldiers and cargoes to Afghanistan and back, and fuel service in the sky over Afghanistan.

Officially

On February, 3rd, Bakiev declared about future withdrawal of the American airbase from Kyrgyzstan after the negotiations with the president of Russia Dmitry Medvedev.

“Recently the Kyrgyz government decided to terminate the agreement about the stay terms of the American airbase in Kyrgyzstan.This decision will be announced soon”, – Bakiev told.

The Kyrgyz president noticed that the USA didn't satisfy the financial conditions of Kyrgyzstan to base stay. There was also a negative social resonance about the airbase stay.

Next day, on February, 4th, the government of Kyrgyzstan approved and directed to the parliament the law project has officially declared that they hadn't received the formal notification about the decision to close the base.

“We have been in discussion with Kyrgyz authorities on the future of Manas Air Base. These discussions will continue. At this point we have not received formal notification of a decision by Kyrgyzstan to close the base. We have a broad range of programs and interests we will continue to pursue with the government and people of Kyrgyzstan, – said [en] in the press-release of the American embassy in Kyrgyzstan.

Expert's Opinions

The political scientist Nur Omarov doubts that the American airbase will be called off Kyrgyzstan.

“There are some serious evidences that the American air base won't be made go out. There is the trusted information that the statement sounded last night has the certain forced character. I think, within next few days Bakiev will meet a number of the high-ranking officials of the USA. They will convince him to refuse the present position”, – Omarov told [ru].

The political scientist Marat Kazakpaev considers this decision as wrong, because the USA were for Kyrgyzstan the strategic ally in region.

«The USA is the world power. It has a great potential. We have the big humanitarian and economic help, a lot of grants for the non-governmental organizations. It was a good cooperation. The airbase also concerned military operations in Afghanistan. It is necessary to hold base untill the situation in Afghanistan completely will be stable. Besides everybody knows that Kyrgyzstan joined voluntary to the international anti terrorist operation in 2001, and provided the base”, – Kazakpaev told [ru].

One of leaders of opposition and the director of Institute of freedom and human rights Topchubek Turgunaliev is against the airbase withdrawal.

“Kyrgyzstan is in the depressing situation now. After that decision our relations not only with the USA, but also many west countries will worsen”, – Turgunaliev thought [ru].

What is on the Internet?

Diesel forum user Parazit79 tried to foreseen [ru] the future location of the airbase:

How the president of Tajikistan behaves recently, the base if moves, will move there.

Certain Lugovsa suggested [ru] three possible actions:

The only one question is a question which of three events will appear first.
earlier: Americans will offer more than Russian (Is it really necessary to them? The Uzbeks would drag the American base); the next wave of drug-jihad from Afghanistan (awfully it would not be desirable, but it is very real); or the Chinese will decide to fill the vacuum. The Kyrgyzstanis are afraid of last variant most of all, but it is visible future.

Livejournal user aka_b_m told [ru]:

I think that the base will stay more. Bakiev didn't tell anything new. He told about the withdrawal in 2005, without specifying terms. And now Russia still at all did not start to bargain with new administration of the USA. Russia is just trying to gain more trumps. But the card can lay down in any way.

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