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Kyrgyz President Confirms Exchange With Karzai On Manas

U.S. soldiers are expected to leave the Manas air base by mid-August.

U.S. soldiers are expected to leave the Manas air base by mid-August.

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev has signaled that he received a letter from his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai regarding the use of the Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan.

Bakiev, talking to residents of the town of At-Bashy in the Naryn region, said the "matter" about the letter was "correct."

Earlier, a top Kyrgyz official said Bakiev may meet with Karzai next week to discuss letting U.S.-led forces continue to use the Manas air base to support operations in nearby Afghanistan.

Aibek Moldogaziev, a top official in the Kyrgyz presidential administration, said Karzai wrote a letter to Bakiev last week suggesting that they hold "confidential talks" that would touch on the issue of the Manas air base.

Kyrgyzstan has given U.S. forces until August 18 to vacate the base.

Bakiev did not give any indication about the contents of the letter from Karzai. However, he said the situation in the region should be discussed at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's (SCO) summit in Yekaterinburg on June 15-16.

Officials close to Bakiev have told RFE/RL that a possible meeting between Karzai and Bakiev to discuss the situation could be held at the SCO meeting.

The SCO is a security grouping dominated by Russia and China that also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan has observer status.

RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service contributed to this report. With material from agency reports.