BISHKEK -- A new Kyrgyz-Russian venture called GazPromNeft-Aero-Kyrgyzstan will be the provider of fuel for the U.S. transit center at Manas airport near Bishkek, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.
Officials of Russia's GazPromNeft-Aero and Kyrgyzstan's gasoline center at Manas airport signed the agreement creating the joint venture today in Bishkek.
Earlier this month, Kyrgyz officials and U.S. representatives agreed that Kyrgyzstan would provide the transit center with 50 percent of its gasoline needs.
Kyrgyz First Deputy Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov told journalists earlier this month that the Russian side would own 51 percent and the Kyrgyz side 49 percent of the joint venture.
The U.S. transit center at Manas, a key hub for supporting U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan, currently obtains all its fuel from the controversial Mina Corporation, which is registered in Gibraltar but has unclear ownership.
Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva harshly criticized the Pentagon's recent decision to renew its contract with Mina.
She claimed that over the past five years, the company had violated Kyrgyz regulations and might have been involved in corrupt schemes to enrich her predecessor as president, Kurmanbek Bakiev, and members of his family.Read more in Kyrgyz here