U.S. Denies Reports On Kyrgyz Base Expansion

U.S. DENIES REPORTS ON KYRGYZ BASE EXPANSION

RIA Novosti
June 19

The United States does not plan to expand its airbase near Kyrgyzstan’s
capital, a senior U.S. diplomat visiting the Central Asian state said
on Thursday.

Kyrgyz media reported on Wednesday, citing a Kyrgyz government source,
that the expansion of the U.S. base in Manas would top the agenda of
the June 19-22 visit to the former Soviet republic by George Krol,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central Asia and Public Diplomacy.

Media reports said Washington had asked Kyrgyz authorities to allot
additional 300 hectares to build new military facilities near the base.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyrgyzstan quoted Krol as saying those reports
were totally untrue and that Washington did not plan to expand the
Manas base.

The U.S. airbase at Manas airport, located 30 kilometers (17 miles)
east of Bishkek, accommodates 1,000 U.S. troops along with nine
refueling and cargo planes supporting antiterrorism operations in
Afghanistan.

The embassy said in a statement that in Bishkek Krol would meet with
high-level Kyrgyz officials to discuss bilateral issues, including
cooperation in regional security and economic partnership.

Russia, which also has a military base in Kyrgyzstan, said earlier
this month it would send more aircraft to Kant, about 20 miles west
of Bishkek.

The Kant base, which currently deploys some 400 troops and several
Su-25 Frogfoot attack aircraft and Su-27 Flanker fighters, combat
transport helicopters and combat trainers, will soon receive four more
combat trainers, a transport plane and several new Su-27 aircraft,
Air Force officials said earlier.

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