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Kyrgyz Parliament To Debate Fate Of U.S. Base This Week

A U.S. cargo plane lands on the runway of the Manas air base.
BISHKEK -- The Kyrgyz parliament will begin debate on the closure of the U.S. air base at Manas Airport on February 19, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Parliament's International Affairs Committee Chairman Erik Arsaliev said that three Kyrgyz parliamentary committees -- on defense, international affairs, and constitutional legislation -- have approved President Kurmanbek Bakiev's proposal to shut the U.S. air base down.

The leader of the pro-presidential Ak Jol party, Ulugbek Ormonov, told RFE/RL that his faction will discuss the issue on February 18, adding that he is sure the faction will approve Bakiev's proposal.

The Ak Jol faction is the biggest in parliament, where it holds a solid majority.