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Kyrgyz Government To Delay Decision On U.S. Military Base

US soldiers inspect military planes at the Manas air base

US soldiers inspect military planes at the Manas air base

The interim Kyrgyz government says it will likely delay any decision on the fate of a U.S. military base that is key for shipping supplies to international troops in Afghanistan.

Omurbek Tekebaev, a deputy prime minister, told Reuters that any decision on the Manas facility, where fewer flights have reportedly been made since the ouster of President Kurmanbek Bakiev earlier this month, would likely come after elections in October.

Tekebaev, in charge of constitutional reform, said some officials in the interim government want the Americans out, while others are uncertain.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington had been reassured by the Kyrgyz interim administration that it can keep using the base.

Speaking at a NATO meeting in Estonia, Clinton said Russia had no objections to the United States using Manas since Moscow is allowing the Pentagon to transport troops and materials across Russian airspace.

The head of the interim Kyrgyz government, Roza Otunbaeva, has said her government would extend the lease on the air base for another year after the current deal expires in June.

compiled from agency reports