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Kyrgyzstan's PM Hints U.S. Base To Close In Four Years


Almazbek Atambaev (file photo)

Almazbek Atambaev (file photo)

Almazbek Atambaev told parliament the transit center at the Bishkek airport operated by U.S. forces to support operations in Afghanistan would remain for four more years.

The parliament had just elected the leader of the Social Democratic Party to be Kyrgyzstan's new prime minister.

Atambaev said the United States and Kyrgyzstan had a five-year agreement for the U.S. to use part of Manas Airport.

"One year has passed," Atambaev said. He also said that he had informed "the leaders of several countries, that we could not violate an obligation we have taken on ourselves."

Atambaev also told the deputies that his first foreign visit as Kyrgyzstan's new prime minister would be to Russia "because Russia is and always has been our strategic partner."

Earlier, deputies elected Ata-Jurt party leader Akhmatbek Keldibekov to be speaker of parliament. Deputies have also reportedly elected a cabinet.

Parliament assembled today and confirmed a majority coalition led by the Respublika party and including Atambaev and Keldibekov's parties.

The country had been without a government since the October 10 parliamentary elections.

compiled from agency reports
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