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Kyrgyzstan to Close US Airbase in 2014


US servicemen attend a change of command ceremony at Manas Air Base near Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek, June 2009. (file photo)

US servicemen attend a change of command ceremony at Manas Air Base near Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek, June 2009. (file photo)

Kyrgyzstan's president-elect has told the United States that its Manas airbase has to close when its lease expires in mid-2014.

Former Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev, who won Sunday's presidential election with more than 60 percent of the votes, said Kyrgyzstan would honor the current lease but has no intention of extending it.

The United States has used the base, which is adjacent to the Manas civilian airport, as a key supply transit center for the war in Afghanistan. Atambayev pointed to U.S. conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and worsening relations with Iran, saying he did not want to risk one of those countries making a retaliatory strike on the base.

Russia also has a base in Kyrgyzstan, and views the former Soviet Central Asian nation as part of its traditional sphere of influence.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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