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US Senate Votes to Delay Payment for Uzbek Base

The U.S. Senate has voted to delay a $23 million payment to Uzbekistan for the use of an air base for American military operations in Afghanistan.

The measure, which was approved Wednesday as part of a $440-billion defense spending bill, delays for one year the payment for the use of the Karshi-Khanabad Air Base (also known as K-2).

The measure still must be reconciled with the House of Representatives version of the 2006 fiscal year defense spending bill, which does not include the prohibition.

In sponsoring the measure, Republican Senator John McCain said the Uzbek government has terminated cooperation with the United States and rejected calls for an inquiry into its violent repression of an anti-government protest in the eastern city of Andijan (in May).

In July, the Uzbek government gave the United States 180 days to leave the base, after Washington criticized its handling of the Andijan incident.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.