News / Asia

Next Kyrgyzstan Government Expected to Keep US Base

US military planes at Manas US military base, in Bishkek airport, Kyrgyzstan (File Photo)
US military planes at Manas US military base, in Bishkek airport, Kyrgyzstan (File Photo)
James Brooke

After Sunday's parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan, five political parties now are deep in talks about forming a coalition government. During the campaign, several parties said the new government should close an American run base that supports NATO in Afghanistan. 

This year, almost all NATO soldiers bound for Afghanistan and about one third of the air fuel for the war have passed through Manas, a U.S.-run transit center near Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan. Last month, some Kyrgyz politicians called for closing the base, saying it violates agreements with Russia or that it will draw attacks from Taliban supporters.

But now the election is over. Analysts here and in Moscow believe the transit center will continue largely unaffected by the political change here.

Andrei Grozin, Central Asia expert at the CIS Institute in Moscow, says the Russian government increasingly sees the utility of the American-led war effort in Afghanistan.

Grozin said that many Kremlin officials now believe that Americans are doing "pro-Russian work" by fighting to keep Taliban and Islamic fundamentalists away from Central Asia, historically a Russian area of influence. Russia now allows hundreds of overflights and thousands of railroad cars to pass through its territory, carrying cargo for the NATO war effort in Afghanistan.

Taking a cue from Russia, most leading Krygyz politicians are backing away from anti-base positions. Omurbek Babanov leads Respublika, a party seen as playing a kingmaker role in talks to forge a ruling coalition.

Responding to a question by VOA, he said he favored studying the base issue and consulting with Russia.

Shortly after he spoke, he met with Susan M. Elliot, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, who was visiting from Washington. Asked about Manas she told reporters here: "We are meeting with all the parties who will be involved with forming the government.  We haven't finished those meetings, but I know that we will be able to come to agreement about the continuation of the transit center."

In Washington her boss, Robert O. Blake, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian affairs, told VOA:

"We very much welcome that kind of conversation because we see that the Manas transit center is part of a wider shared objective that we have which is to help to stabilize Afghanistan so that militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan do not pose a threat either to their neighbors, like Kyrgyzstan, or to the United States," he said.

Last year, Kyrgyzstan's parliament voted to close the base. The United States retained the base by quadrupling its annual rent payment. Next spring, lease negotiations are to start again.

If Pakistan keeps closing the border and the Taliban keep attacking truck convoys, the Kyrgyz landlords have a strong bargaining hand. With southern supply routes in disarray, they hold a key piece to the northern supply route to Afghanistan.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid