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Bakiyev expects U.S. airbase to help support Kyrgyz economy

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KANT AIRBASE (Kyrgyzstan), September 21 (RIA Novosti) - Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said Wednesday that the Pentagon should pay higher rent for its base in Manas and dismantle it when the situation in neighboring Afghanistan became stable enough to pull out U.S. forces.

During a visit to Russia's Kant airbase, Bakiyev said the Manas base, set up four years ago to support the U.S.-led coalition's military campaign in Afghanistan, would have to go once the situation in that country improved.

In the meantime, he said the terms and conditions of the lease agreement should be reviewed since the current rent was too low and the struggling Kyrgyz economy needed additional funding.

Bakiyev said the Manas issue had been discussed during U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's Central Asian tour in July. "We agreed that the situation in Afghanistan is not like it was in 2001; a parliamentary election has been held [there] and the situation has stabilized."

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