Leader says US, Russia to keep bases

The Kyrgyz opposition that has taken power will allow US and Russian military bases to remain in the Central Asian state, the acting president was quoted as saying on Friday.

    Protesters celebrate in front of the presidential palace in Bishkek

    "Kyrgyzstan is not going to review its obligations concerning the military bases of anti-terrorist coalition on its territory," Itar-Tass news agency quoted Kurmanbek Bakiev as saying.

    During the military operation in Afghanistan in 2001, Kyrgyzstan gave the United States part of a civilian airport outside the capital, Bishkek, to set up an airbase, which is now home to 1,500 servicemen and to aircraft.

    In 2003 Russia was granted permission to set up its own airbase at Kant. About 500 Russian servicemen, and military aircraft, are stationed there.

    The bases are a major source of income for the state coffers of the impoverished ex-Soviet republic. Some commentators say their leases give Kyrgyzstan up to 10 percent of its national budget.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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