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Kyrgyz Prosecutors Want To Clarify Manas Bribe Claim

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul
U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul
The Kyrgyz Prosecutor-General's Office has asked the U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, to explain his claim that Russian officials in 2009 paid bribes to then-Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev in an attempt to shut down the U.S. military complex at Manas.

McFaul, who added that the Americans countered with a bribe of their own -- albeit a much smaller one -- made his remarks during a speech May 25 at Moscow's Higher School of Economics.

He later softened his claim to say both sides had offered "economic assistance."

Kyrgyz prosecutors say they are unlikely to open an active investigation into the role of Bakiev, who was forced out of office in April 2010.

Current President Almazbek Atambayev says he will attempt to close Manas when its lease expires in 2014.

Based on reporting by Interfax and Eurasianet

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