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    Kyrgyz parliament to decide on U.S. base closure next week

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    Kyrgyzstan's parliament could vote on the closure of a U.S. military base next week, a senior Kyrgyz lawmaker said on Thursday.

    BISHKEK, February 5 (RIA Novosti) - Kyrgyzstan's parliament could vote on the closure of a U.S. military base next week, a senior Kyrgyz lawmaker said on Thursday.

    President Kurmanbek Bakiyev announced plans to close down the base in Manas, used to support NATO operations in nearby Afghanistan since 2001, after talks on Tuesday in Moscow, where he secured substantial financial aid from Russia.

    The government submitted a bill for parliamentary approval on Wednesday needed to proceed with the closure. The legislature is dominated by the pro-presidential Ak Zhol party.

    "The chamber will consider canceling an agreement with the U.S. on the deployment of the airbase in the international airport Manas most likely no earlier than next week," said Kabai Karabekov, deputy head of the international committee.

    He said the bill had to be examined by related committees, which meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, before it could be put to the vote.

    The United States will have 180 days to withdraw its 1,000 military personnel from the Manas base after the two countries exchange the relevant documentation.

    The U.S. Embassy in Bishkek said earlier Kyrgyzstan had so far provided no official documentation on the planned closure, and the base was operating as usual.

    President Barack Obama earlier announced plans to send up to 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan to fight Taliban and al-Qaeda militants.

    Russia, which also runs a military base in ex-Soviet Kyrgyzstan, pledged to continue cooperation with Washington on Afghanistan once the base was closed.

    Russia denied that Bakiyev's decision demanding the closure of the U.S. base was linked to recent deals to write off Bishkek's $180 million debt and grant a $2 billion discounted loan, as well as $150 million in financial aid to the impoverished Kyrgyz republic.

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