MOSCOW, August 1 (RIA Novosti) – The United States Central Command is not holding negotiations with the Uzbek government on opening a new military base in the country’s south, the CENTCOM press service said in a statement Friday.
“Gen. [Lloyd] Austin has no knowledge of any plans for a possible US base in Uzbekistan. He did not discuss any such options with the Uzbeks during his trip,” CENTCOM spokesman Army Maj. Brian Fickel stressed.
Earlier a number of media reports suggested that the commander of the US Central Command, Gen. Austin during his recent visit to Uzbekistan discussed with the leadership of the country a possibility to deploy a US contingent in the Uzbek city of Termez.
The United States has been allowed to use Karshi-Khanabad Air Base in Uzbekistan as a staging ground for combat, reconnaissance and humanitarian missions in Afghanistan since 2001.
Following Tashkent’s anti-terrorist operation in Andijan in 2005 when the government forces opened fire on a crowd of protesters killing hundreds of people, the Uzbek authorities told Washington, which widely condemned the move, to leave the air base.
Since late 2001, Germany has been using an airport near the city of Termez in Uzbekistan to transfer nonmilitary cargo. An official lease agreement between Uzbekistan and Germany was signed back in 2002. In April 2010 the two countries signed a new deal, whose conditions remain undisclosed.
US personnel have been authorized to use the facility since 2008.