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Top U.S. Commander In Kyrgyzstan For Base Talks

(RFE/RL) Bishkek, 1 November 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The top U.S. military commander in the Persian Gulf region visited Bishkek today for talks with President Kurmanbek Bakiev and other Kyrgyz officials.

At a news conference with General John Abizaid, Bakiev said Kyrgyzstan is asking the United States to accept a new
draft agreement prepared by a government commission on usage of the Ganci air base at Manas Airport near Bishkek.

"Kyrgyzstan is finalizing a new draft agreement right now, and I would like to take advantage of this meeting and
discuss this issue with you without putting it off any longer," the president said.

In an interview with RFE/RL, Kyrgyzstan's deputy minister of ecology and emergency situations, Bakir Jolchuyev, says the
draft agreement includes articles on payment for possible damage to the environment as a result of U.S. military
activities. It also seeks help to fight corruption. Bishkek wants to trace the money the United States gave to the administration of former President Askar Akaev for the use of the base.

The U.S. military has been using the base since the end of 2001 for conducting security and humanitarian operations in

(RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service)

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