09:34 GMT +324 February 2018
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    Medvedev says U.S. base in Kyrgyzstan should not be permanent

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    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the U.S. military facility in Kyrgyzstan, used as a major transit point for supplying troops in Afghanistan, should not be permanent.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the U.S. military facility in Kyrgyzstan, used as a major transit point for supplying troops in Afghanistan, should not be permanent.

    "If you want to know my opinion, I stress that such facilities should not be used permanently and should stop operating after completing relevant operations," Medvedev said in an interview to the U.S. daily Wall Street Journal.

    "The fate of this base is in the hands of the Kyrgyz authorities. Let them decide," he added.

    The U.S. transit center on the territory of Manas Airport in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, was opened in 2001, when NATO-led international forces invaded Afghanistan to topple its Taliban rulers.

    In early 2009, the ex-Soviet Central Asian state ordered to shut the base. The decision was widely seen as being influenced by Russia, which had granted Kyrgyzstan a large financial aid package, although Moscow denies any linkage.

    However, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev few months later allowed the United States to continue using the base.

    Russia also has an airbase in Kant, around 20 kilometers (12 miles) outside Bishkek.

    The Central Asian state became a focus of international attention after deadly clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbek groups swept through southern Kyrgyzstan late last week in the worst outbreak of violence in two decades.

    According to official figures over 190 people were killed, but Kyrgyz officials say the real death toll could be nearly 2,000. Some 400,000 people have fled the country amid the unrest, according to the United Nations.

     

    MOSCOW, June 18 (RIA Novosti)

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