Kyrgyzstan denies U.S. proposal on base

Feb. 6, 2009 at 10:56 AM
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BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- The Kyrgyzstan prime minister dismissed Friday media reports that his country received proposals from Washington on closing a U.S. military base in Manas.

Prime Minister Igor Chudinov said, "I have received no new proposals," nor has he met or talked with U.S. representatives, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

President Kurmanbek Bakiyev earlier this week announced plans to shutter the U.S. Manas base, used to support NATO operations in Afghanistan since 2001, after talks in Moscow, where he secured financial aid from Russia.

The country's premier, Aibek Sultangaziyev, reinforced the government's decision to close the airbase, Itar-Tass, another Russian news agency, reported.

"The government has made the decision; a resolution on denunciation of the agreement with the USA on the airbase has been signed," Sultangaziyev said. "The relevant bill has been forwarded to the lawmakers; now the parliament will have its say."

Chudinov said the decision to close the airbase wasn't linked to Russia's writing off Kyrgyzstan's $180 million debt, loaning the country $2 billion at a discounted loan and providing $150 million in financial assistance, RIA Novosti said.

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