BISHKEK, February 9 (Itar-Tass) — The Kyrgyz parliament refused to put up for debates a shutdown of the U.S. airbase at Manas airport in Bishkek. The opposition party Ata-Zhurt (Fatherland) has put forward this initiative. This issue “is constantly raised by Kyrgyz citizens,” whose interests the lawmakers should protect, Ata-Zhurt leader Kamchybek Tashiyev said.
“The move of the Ata-Zhurt Party did not get the required number of votes. Therefore, this issue will not be put up for parliamentary debates,” a source in the Supreme Council staff told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
Tashiyev stated earlier that several protest actions were staged recently in the country against the deployment of the U.S. troops in the republic. In this respect, the parliamentary faction that the latter heads was planning to put up for debates in the supreme legislature “the expediency of further deployment” of the U.S. airbase in Kyrgyzstan.
Five political parties are represented in the Kyrgyz parliament, four of them united in the ruling coalition, and only Ata-Zhurt remained in opposition.
The U.S. airbase was opened at the Manas airport in December 2001 for the logistical support of the Enduring Freedom Operation in Afghanistan. The airbase initially stationed servicemen of several member-countries of the anti-terrorist coalition, but the U.S. troops make the backbones of the airbase in the last few years. The former Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev stated his intentions to shut down the airbase in 2009, but after long consultations with Washington he only renamed the airbase in the centre of transit shipments.
Incumbent Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev noted earlier that the term of the intergovernmental agreement with the United States for the deployment of its airbase in Bishkek will expire in 2014. The U.S. contingent is to leave the Manas airport by this deadline.