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Kyrgyz Parliament Group OKs Closure of US Base


Kyrgyzstan's parliamentary defense committee has approved its government's decision to close a U.S. air base used to supply U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

A full parliamentary vote on the issue could be held this week.

As of Monday morning, U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said it had not received any official notification from Kyrgyzstan about the status of Manas Air Base. He said the U.S. will engage with Kyrgyz officials on the issue.

Under their agreement, Kyrgyzstan must give the United States 180 days notice to close the base.

Also Monday, a Kyrgyz official said the government will send parliament a new bill this week to end all agreements on coalition troop deployment from Manas. This measure would extend beyond the United States and apply to other coalition members.

But Kazakhstan's foreign ministry said it will allow the U.S. to use Kazakh territory to transport non-military supplies to troops in Afghanistan.

A foreign ministry spokesman, Yerzhan Ashikbayev, said Kazakh and U.S. officials have yet to work out the "technical and commercial parameters."

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev announced plans to close Manas Air Base after Russia pledged to give Kyrgyzstan about $2 billion in loans and aid.

Russian and Kyrgyz officials have denied any link between the financial aid and Kyrgyzstan's decision to end U.S. access to the base.

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