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World Briefing / Kyrgyzstan

Vote delayed on closing U.S. base

February 10, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Kyrgyzstan's parliament will delay a vote on expelling U.S. troops from an important base in the country until it gets $450 million in aid and loans promised by Russia, said Communist Party deputy Absamat Masaliyev, a member of the parliament's coordinating body.

The Manas air base is a key staging platform for U.S. and coalition operations in Afghanistan. A delay in the vote could give Washington extra time to negotiate a settlement and avoid closure.

Last week, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev shocked Washington when he announced closure of the base a few minutes after Russia promised to give Kyrgyzstan more than $2.1 billion in loans, aid and investment. Kyrgyz and Russian authorities deny the actions are related.

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