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Kyrgyz Parliament Ratifies U.S. Base Agreement

U.S. servicemen at the Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan
BISHKEK -- The Kyrgyz parliament has unanimously ratified an agreement with on the U.S. use of the Manas air base as a transit point to supply international coalition troops in Afghanistan, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Seventy-five of the parliament's 90 deputies voted for the agreement, with none voting against, while five deputies abstained.

The agreement was signed on June 22.

The air base was established in December 2001 to support NATO operations in Afghanistan.

According to the new agreement, the United States will pay $60 million annually for the use of Manas.

Washington had been in talks to keep the base open since February, when Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev announced its closure in Moscow after securing pledges of $2 billion in aid and credit from Russia.

A Kremlin source said on June 24 that the deal to keep the base open had been agreed with Moscow.