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Kyrgyzstan Sets Conditions for U.S. Base
Agence France-Presse  |  January 25, 2006
Kyrgyzstan said Wednesday it has given the United States new conditions, including a sharp hike in fees, for maintaining an airbase supporting US troops in Afghanistan, officials said.

The foreign minstry said it had handed the US ambassador in the Central Asian state a note specifying the new conditions.

They call for "a significant increase in the lease fees, payment for ecological damage, as well as a few other points reflecting Kyrgyzstan's national internests," the ministry said in a statement.

The statement gave no further details. But parliament speaker Omurbek Tekebayev said earlier this month that Kyrgyzstan is seeking to sharply increase, to 50 million dollars (41.4 million euros) a year, the amount the United States pays for the Manas airbase,

Under the current complicated system, the land on which the airbase is located is controled by several entities, which charge anything between three cents and four dollars per square meter.

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said last month that Washington should pay "tens of times more" for use of the airbase.

Bakiyev earlier raised environmental concerns as a reason to "review" the rent paid by Washington for use of the base.

Last year US forces were evicted from a base in another ex-Soviet republic in Central Asia, Uzbekistan, which was set up to support operations in Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

The eviction has forced the Americans to rely more heavily on the base in Kyrgyzstan.

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