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U.S. Defense Secretary To Visit Kyrgyzstan

25 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is due in Kyrgyzstan today.

Rumsfeld will meet acting Defense Minister Ismail Isakov during his two-day stay in Bishkek.

The visit comes after Kyrgyzstan's newly elected President Kurmanbek Bakiev questioned whether U.S. troops should continue to be based in his country.

Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Roza Otunbayeva said ahead of Rumsfeld's visit that the future of the U.S. military presence in Kyrgyzstan will be the main object of discussion.

Earlier this month the Shanghai Cooperation Organization -- a regional grouping that includes Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and China -- said Washington should set a date for the withdrawal of its military bases in Central Asia.


See also:

Central Asia: Is Regional Turbulence Return Of The Great Game?

Central Asia: SCO -- Shoring Up The Post-Soviet Status Quo