BISHKEK, February 20 (Itar-Tass) — President Almazbek Atambayev said U.S. servicemen should leave Kyrgyzstan when their mandate expires, the presidential press service told Itar-Tass.
This issue was raised at Monday’s meeting between Kyrgyz president and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Susan Elliot, the press service said.
Commenting “on issue of the U.S. military presence in the republic, the head of state said that no foreign military contingent should be deployed at the Manas airport [Bishkek] after the summer of 2014.” Atambayev stressed that cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and the United States would be built “based on Kyrgyzstan’s national interests. The democratic development will be one of the factors for strengthening relations between the two countries”.
According to the press service, Elliot expressed gratitude to the Kyrgyz leadership for contributing to security in Afghanistan and in the entire region.
The U.S. air base was opened in Bishkek’s airport of Manas in December 2001. It was designed to conduct the operation, Endeavoured Freedom. The deadline of the Kyrgyz-American agreement expires in the summer 2014. Initially forces of several member-countries of the anti-terrorist coalition have been deployed in the air base. Over the course of the past years U.S. servicemen and hardware stayed in the area. In 2009 Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev said he intended to close the air base. But after long consultations with Washington the base was renamed into the transit centre.