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Kyrgyz Leader Says U.S. Impeding Shooting Probe

Kurmanbek Bakiev (file photo) (RFE/RL) BISHKEK, December 18, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyzstan's President Kurmanbek Bakiev today accused the U.S. military of impeding an investigation into the recent killing of a civilian by a U.S. soldier, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

In comments broadcast live on state television, Bakiev also said what he described as the quasi-diplomatic status soldiers manning the U.S. Manas military air base enjoy must be lifted so that they could be prosecuted under Kyrgyz laws.

"I've asked the Foreign Ministry to draft amendments to this agreement on behalf of the Kyrgyz government," he added. "I will tell you frankly, this status should be cancelled."

Bakiev added that he was sure his government would manage to "dot all the i's" on this issue without any harm to Kyrgyz-U.S. ties.

The U.S. Embassy in Bishkek earlier today said the serviceman responsible for the December 6 killing was answerable to U.S. laws.

The embassy also said Kyrgyz law enforcement officers would be authorized to submit questions for the soldier, or attend his questioning by U.S. military investigators. Kyrgyz authorities want to interrogate the U.S. soldier themselves.

The U.S. military claims its serviceman acted in self-defense.

(with material from Kabar, AKIpress, and

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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