Kyrgyzstan, Russia discuss base deals

Sept. 20, 2012 at 11:32 AM

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The status of foreign military bases in Kyrgyzstan is a decision best left to the government in Bishkek, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

The U.S. military uses the Manas Air Base as a major stopping point for military supplies en route to Afghanistan. A lease for the airbase in Kyrgyzstan expires in 2014, when international forces are scheduled to wrap up their Afghan mission.

Russia's independent news agency RT reports the issue didn't come up during Putin's visit. Putin was quoted as saying both sides "didn't even mention" the issue. The issue of foreign military bases in the country was an internal affair, he added.

Kyrgyzstan is the only country to host both Russian and U.S. military installations. Russia paid Kyrgyzstan around $4.5 million per year for the use of four military installations in the Central Asian country. Bishkek this year suggested it may charge a higher fee, however.

Both sides during Putin's visit agreed to a 15-year base agreement that's to enter into force in 2017. Moscow added that it was forgiving more than $480 million in Kyrgyz debt owed to Russia. The terms of the base agreement weren't disclosed.

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