Kyrgyzstan to extend U.S. airbase agreement by a year

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, April 16, 2010
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The Kyrgyz interim government announced Friday that the agreement with the United States on the transit center near Manas airport will be extended by one year.

Deputy Prime Minister Omurbek Tekebayev said the future of the transit center should have been determined by Kyrgyz parliament. However, the former parliament had been dissolved, and the current interim government did not reserve relevant rights.

Since the agreement will expire this June, and the parliamentary elections will not be held until October, thus the agreement should automatically extend by one year, he said.

The transit center at the Manas airport in Kyrgyzstan, which is under a lease to the United States, plays an important role for the logistic support to the War in Afghanistan.

Last week, thousands of protesters clashed with security forces throughout the country, driving out local governments and seizing government headquarters in Bishkek. Latest figures from the health ministry put the death toll of the riots up to 84.

President Kurmanbek Bakiyev fled to the south and opposition parties formed an interim government led by Roza Otunbayeva, former foreign minister.

Bakiyev on Thursday had formally submitted his letter of resignation and left the country for the neighboring Kazakhstan, which Tekebayev said was conducive to stabilizing the domestic situation in Kyrgyzstan.

After the president left, the situation would not further complicate, he added.

However, some of Kyrgyz people remained dissatisfied as Bakiyev was not arrested, saying they did not understand why the interim government allowed him to leave.

After all, "this would be better than bloodshed again," said Tekebayev.

Meanwhile, Kyrgyz interim government leader Roza Otunbayeva on Friday pledged to hold an independent investigation into the April 7 shootings and said the country's deposed president must stand trial over the events.

"He cannot run away from trial. He cannot hide from it in any country in the world," she said in a live televised address.

Kyrgyz media reported on Friday that special forces have surrounded the hometown of Bakiyev, the village of Teyit in the southern region of Jalalabad, because Bakiyev's brother Zhanybek, former head of presidential bodyguard service, was possibly hiding there.

Meanwhile former Defense Minister Baktybek Kalyev has been detained and deported to Bishkek for trial.

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