US can maintain Kyrgyz air base, Clinton says

2010-04-23 09:04 BJT

Special Report: Unrest in Kyrgyzstan |

The interim government in Kyrgyzstan says it's unlikely, that a decision will be made on whether to allow the United States to retain an air base in the country, before an October election.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she saw "no problem" that would prevent the continued use of the facility.

A US soldier stands near a plane bound for Afghanistan, as it fuels up at the Manas Transit Center, in Kyrgyzstan, on March 2010. The US military has suspended troop flights out of its base in Kyrgyzstan and will instead transport forces to and from Afghanistan via Kuwait, military officials said Friday.(AFP/File/Vyacheslav Oseledko) 
A US soldier stands near a plane bound for Afghanistan, as it fuels 
up at the Manas Transit Center, in Kyrgyzstan, on March 2010. The US
military has suspended troop flights out of its base in Kyrgyzstan 
and will instead transport forces to and from Afghanistan via Kuwait, 
military officials said Friday.(AFP/File/Vyacheslav Oseledko)

Kyrgyzstan's interim government has sent mixed signals on the fate of the Manas base, which is currently supporting NATO operations in Afghanistan.

Omurbek Tekebayev, Kyrgyz Deputy Prime Minister, said, "This question is unlikely to be considered before the elections."

However, on the same day, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she felt confident that the base will remain open.

Hillary Clinton said, "With respect to the bases, we have been given assurance by the new leadership in Kyrgyzstan that the United States will retain access to the Manas air base."

Tekebayev said there were different opinions within the interim government on the status of the U.S. base lease. The head of the interim government Roza Otunbayeva, has said it will be kept in place. But she added that there are some outstanding questions regarding the facility.

The Manas base is a key refueling point for military aircraft flying over Afghanistan and a major hub for the movement of NATO troops.

Clinton said Washington had discussed the issue with Russia, which also operates a military base in Kyrgyzstan. She said Moscow has allowed the Pentagon to transport materials and troops destined for Afghanistan through Russian airspace.

Related stories

Editor: Du Xiaodan | Source: