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U.S. to respond to Kyrgyz base closure report - embassy


BISHKEK, February 4 (RIA Novosti) - The United States will make an official statement on Wednesday on the decision to close its airbase in Kyrgyzstan announced by the Central Asian state's leader yesterday, the U.S. embassy in Bishkek state said.

Kurmanbek Bakiyev said in Moscow that he would demand the closure of the U.S. military base used to support antiterrorism operations in neighboring Afghanistan, citing Washington's refusal to discuss higher rental payments and reluctance to address the 2006 killing by a U.S. officer of a Kyrgyz man.

At talks with President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday Bakiyev secured deals writing off Kyrgyzstan's $180 million debt and the promise of a $2 billion discounted loan and $150 million in financial aid for the impoverished Kyrgyz republic for years plagued by instability.

The Embassy's press service said Kyrgyzstan had so far provided no official documents on the planned closure and the base, home to 1,000 military personnel, was operating as usual.

A member of the Communist faction in the Kyrgyz parliament, Iskhak Masaliyev, said on Wednesday the "government should inform the U.S. side of the closure six months in advance."

Medvedev said on Tuesday Russia and Kyrgyzstan would continue cooperating with the U.S. on Afghanistan after the closure of the airbase.

"We could join our efforts to promote stability in the region, our countries will help the operations underway in the area. We are ready for coordinated action," he said, adding the decision to close the Manas base was Kyrgyzstan's decision.

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