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Kyrgyz parliament votes against presence of US Air Force base on its territory

June 20, 2013, 14:45 UTC+3
In the near future the bill passed by 91 votes with five votes against will be submitted to President Almazbek Atambayev
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Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

BISHKEK, June 20 (Itar-Tass) - On Thursday the Kyrgyz parliament by a majority vote has approved a bill on the denunciation of the agreement with the United States on the presence of the Air Force base of the international anti-terrorist coalition at Manas airport in Bishkek.

In the near future the bill passed by 91 votes with five votes against will be submitted to President Almazbek Atambayev to be signed into law; after it is signed by the president the bill will come into force, said a source from a juridical department of the Kyrgyz parliament.

Earlier, the bill was approved by all parliamentary factions and relevant parliament committees. Now, the issue will be submitted for consideration of the parliament in the next few days. The bill envisages the withdrawal of the military from the airport Manas before next summer.

The airbase of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was opened in Bishkek in December 2001. It was meant to provide logistics backing for the Enduring Freedom operation in Afghanistan. Initially, the base harbored servicemen and military hardware of several member state of the coalition force, but in recent years it has been used primarily by the United States Air Force. In 2009, the Kyrgyz authorities announced plans to shut the base but following long consultations with Washington, it was only renamed Transit Center. Kyrgyzstan’s President Almazbek Atambayev has repeatedly announced plans to close the base on grounds that “no military should be present at a civil airport.” He suggests that a big transport and logistics hub be established in Manas instead of the air base.

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