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Kyrgyz President Open to US Proposals on Afghanistan


Krygyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev says he is ready for any new proposals from the U.S. government to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan.

Mr. Bakiyev made his comments to the British Broadcasting Corporation Wednesday.

But Kyrgyz officials said Thursday the government will not reverse its decision to evict U.S. forces from a key military base that supports Western troops in Afghanistan.

Last week, Kyrgyzstan ordered U.S. forces to leave the Manas air base within six months after President Bakiyev signed the decision into law.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he believes the issue is not "closed," and that the U.S. will try to reach a new agreement with Kyrgyzstan. As an alternative, Gates said the U.S. is considering other supply routes.

Manas Air Base is currently the only U.S. military supply route in Central Asia.

A top U.S. military officer said Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have agreed to allow the transit of non-lethal U.S. cargo through their territory to Afghanistan.

Washington also has received permission from Russia and Kazakhstan to send supplies to Afghanistan by rail.

President Bakiyev had complained that Washington was not paying enough rent for the base. He announced plans to close it after Russia pledged to give Kyrgyzstan about $2 billion in loans and aid.

Most U.S. and NATO shipments into Afghanistan have been arriving by road through Pakistan, but those convoys have increasingly come under attack from Taliban and al-Qaida militants.

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