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Kyrgyzstan moves to shut US-run Manas air base

9 April 2010 4:54

Kyrgyzstan’s new leaders have said they intend to remove a US military base, which currently serves as the premier air mobility hub for the US-led forces in Afghanistan, from their soil.

The interim government led by ex-foreign minister Roza Otunbayeva, has said it wants the US base, Manas, closed down for security reasons.

The remarks came amid growing uncertainty over whether the new Kyrgyz authorities would allow the US to use the base.

Russia, which itself maintains an air base at Kant, just 20 miles from Manas, has been keen to block US military presence in the region.

Moscow has been increasingly concerned about US military’s prolonged presence in the geo-strategically important Region.

This is while the opposition has taken power and dissolved the parliament. Otunbayeva has promised a new constitution and a presidential election at some point in the next six months. She says a care-taker government will serve as both presidency and parliament for now.

The ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev has refused oppositions demands to resign.

Meanwhile, protestors in the capital Bishkek have demolished and burned the house of the toppled president.

The opposition claims to be in full control of the capital, the armed forces and the media. Earlier, the interim government allowed police to use firearms and shoot looters across the Kyrgyz capital.

Wednesday’s unrest that toppled the government claimed at least 75 lives with over 1000 others injured.

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