The U.S. Embassy in Kyrgyzstan denied on Tuesday that Washington was seeking to establish a military base in the south of the Central Asian state, saying it was funding a training center for Kyrgyz troops.
"The United States does not have and does not seek to obtain a military base in Kyrgyzstan's south," an embassy spokesman said while addressing last week's reports in a variety of internet publications that the United States had agreed with Kyrgyz authorities on construction of an anti-terrorist training center in the Batken Region.
The spokesman said the U.S. government had allocated $5.5 million for the training center, whose construction is to be launched next year, but stressed that it would be owned by the Kyrgyz government and will be used for training Kyrgyz soldiers.
Some political experts interpreted the U.S. step as the country's plans to strengthen its presence in the former Soviet republic, where Russia has its own military base.
The United States uses an airbase in Manas outside Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek, to support its operations in nearby Afghanistan. The terms of the U.S. use of the base were changed last summer after the Central Asian state ordered its closure early in 2009.
The decision to shut the base was widely seen as being influenced by Russia, which had granted Kyrgyzstan a large financial aid package. However, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev signed in the summer of 2009 a law allowing the U.S. to continue using the airbase.
The U.S. base was redefined as a transit center as part of the deal, which included Washington increasing its annual payment to $60 million from the previous sum of $17.4 million.
BISHKEK, March 9 (RIA Novosti)