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)
TEXT SIZE - +

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.


James Brooke

A foreign correspondent who has reported from five continents, Brooke, known universally as Jim, is the Voice of America bureau chief for Russia and former Soviet Union countries. From his base in Moscow, Jim roams Russia and Russia’s southern neighbors.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid