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Kyrgyzstan Seeks $50 Million For U.S. Use Of Air Base

Manas's air field in Kyrgyzstan (RFE/RL) 17 January 2006 (RFE/RL) -- A senior Kyrgyz official has said his country wants the United States to pay around $50 million per year to rent an air base on its territory, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.

Parliamentary speaker Omurbek Tekebaev said late on 16 January that Kyrgyzstan will charge about $5 per square meter for the use of the Ganci base.

Neither side has disclosed the amount the United States currently pays for using the base at Bishkek's Manas Airport, but Kyrgyz officials were widely expected to seek a significant increase in rent on the facilities.

President Kurmanbek Bakiev has said that Washington should pay "tens of times more" for use of the air base, and has cited environmental concerns as a reason to review the rent.

The U.S. military has been using the base to support operations in Afghanistan since late 2001.

(with additional AFP reporting)

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