Who suggests more for Manas?: Trend News commentator

Who suggests more for Manas?: Trend News commentator

Elmira Tariverdiyeva, commentator of Trend European Desk 

The American Manas military base in Kyrgyzstan - the stumbling block of the USA and Russia - can act for several years more, in spite of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's recent order on its withdrawal from the territory of the country. This is surprising, but completely real scenario of the development of events.

After Bakiyev's historical visit to Moscow in the beginning of February, where he mentioned closing of Manas, and in his turn, the President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev highlighted Moscow's providing new credits totaling two billion dollars to Kyrgyzstan, the question with the base seemed to be solved.

However, bewilderment was caused by the calmness of the American side, which faced loosing the infrastructure and airport, necessary for shifting NATO cargos to Afghanistan. Nearly there are one thousand servicemen in Manas airbase. Now there are now 32,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan, and in 12-18 months, their number can grow by 30,000 more, for whom it is necessary to operationally deliver cargos.

High-ranking officials from the Pentagon and the representatives of the U.S. Department of State confirmed that the negotiations have not finished and the future of Manas base is fogy.
At first glance, it could seem that the officials and servicemen simply draw off the moment of recognizing their defeat. However, further the events did not acquire the expected spread. 

There can be several completely objective reasons for this, which make it possible for the USA to take expectant position.

Bishkek never hid that it would want to obtain from the USA more money for the lease of the base, and precisely the insufficient payment for big airport and territory of the military base caused serious dissatisfaction of the government. President Bakyiev always emphasized that the question regarding the base is exceptionally economic.

Since 2001 the Republic obtained two million dollars for the use of Manas, and in 2006 an agreement was reached that that for the lease of the airbase, the USA will pay 17.5 million dollars per year, which is objectively commercial disadvantageous for Bishkek.

But on Feb. 13, State Duma of Russia already approved amendments to the budget regarding financial aid for Kyrgyzstan. And although questions on the Russian credit and closing of Manas are not connected officially, the version of exchange of promise to close the base due to the promise of credit is forced.  

At the same time, already a bill was sent to the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan regarding termination of agreement with the USA on the lease of Manas.

However, still all these in no way guarantee the real closing of Manas either in the near future or in more long-term outlook. Firstly, the bill on closing of American airbase can be deflected, not adopted or even sabotaged at one of the stages of considerations at the Kirghiz Parliament. 

Secondly, understanding that the main decisive factor in the decision on Manas became the financial factor, the USA can simply agree with the government of Kyrgyzstan upon the compensation of the funds for the lease of the base, which were not received fully.

In this case, the President of Kyrgyzstan already has nothing to lose because the law on transfer of two Russian billions already exists, and to receive the funds from the USA for eight years of lease is a good beginning of the upcoming presidential campaign of Bakiyev.

Understanding that the expenses will be huge on transfer of the servicemen from Kyrgyzstan, the organization of new ways of delivering NATO cargos to Afghanistan and search for a place for the military equipment, the USA completely can not to begrudge for the settlement of financial uncertainty in exchange of Manas, and even not to begrudge in huger amount than the generous proposal of Russia. 

Thirdly, the omnipresent financial crisis can play its role in refusal to close Manas. The President and Parliament must understand that in the times of general unemployment when large number of illegal migrants returns to the country from Russia, to deprive jobs of those, who work due to Manas is social suicide. 

All these factors give the U.S. Administration good chances for Kyrgyzstan's re-consideration of its decision on closing of Manas airbase.

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