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BISHKEK, February 25 (Itar-Tass) —— Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev has doubts that his country needs Russia’s Kant military base.
“As far as the Russian base is concerned, we will think it over because a base that does not comply with any of the terms of the agreement, that does not pay even the lease for more than four years, while Kyrgyzstan has to pay all utility bills – do we need such a base?” the president said, commenting on the results of his two-day working visit to Russia on Saturday, February 25.
The Russian Air Force base at Kyrgyzstan’s Kant has been operating since 2003 as the aviation component of the Collective Rapid Deployment Force of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation. But Russia owes Kyrgyzstan 15 million U.S. dollars for the use of this facility.
Speaking about the possibility of creating a joint military base in Kyrgyzstan, Atambayev said, “This will be the second stage. We will discuss that.”
However he stressed that Bishkek would make decisions on the basis of its own national interests only.
“One has to get used to the fact that we are a small but independent country and we will be a strong country,” the president said.
At the same time, he said Kyrgyzstan also plans to get rid of the U.S. military base that has been operating at Bishkek’s airport since 2001.
“The American base will leave in 2014 of course because there must be no military base at a civilian airport,” Atambayev said.