Bishkek kills three birds with one stone by transforming airbase Manas into center for transit transport: expert

Azerbaijan, Baku, October 6 / Trend V. Zhavoronkova /

Transformation of NATO airbase Manas into a Center for Transit Transport has allowed Bishkek solving its problems, Russian expert on Central Asia, Arkady Dubnov, said.

"This military and diplomatic operation conducted by trusted people of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's nearest circle and their U.S partners, has allowed Bishkek killing not two, but three birds with one stone," international commentator of 'Time of news' Dubnov told Trend via E-mail.

On Monday the Committee on International Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Cooperation Zhogorku Kenesh (Kyrgyz Parliament) approved the draft agreements with France and Spain to deploy their military men in the Center for Transit Transport of the U.S. Defense Ministry, which is located in Bishkek Airport Manas.

Expert said that there is no sensation in Bishkek's decision to resume placing of French and Spanish military men in Manas airport, and other NATO countries involved in military operations in Afghanistan.

It is quite logical and appropriate continuation of the U.S. military base's transformation used by their allies into the Center for Transit Transport, Dubnov said.

U.S. air base was established in the international airport Manas in 2001. It was established upon UN mandate to conduct military actions within U.S. anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan.

The Kyrgyz parliament annulled the agreement with the United States and 11 countries of the antiterrorist coalition to deploy their military men in Kyrgyzstan in spring 2009. The agreement on establishment of the Center for Transit Transport to support the operations of international forces in Afghanistan in the airport Manas was ratified on June 22.

"First, Bakiyev formally kept a promise to withdraw the U.S. military base from the territory of Kyrgyzstan. He made this promise to the Russian leadership in the Kremlin in February 2009, Dubnov said. Indeed, there is no military base now, but there is the Center.

Moreover, Bishkek remained a partner of the United States and the West in the anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan. Kyrgyz center remains a key transit hub in the northern transit route to supply Western troops in Afghanistan, expert said.

"Third, Bishkek has successfully solved its financial problems by achieving a substantial increase in payments from the United States for operation of the Center for Transit Transport.  Now it is likely to achieve increase of similar payments from U.S. allies, using the Center in the airport of Bishkek, " Dubnov said.

He said that one can tell with confidence that benefits received by Bishkek are not the last ones.

Dubnov said that farewell speech got by Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Sarbayev leaving for the USA for a working visit on October 5 testifies it.

MP of the Kyrgyz parliament Kabai Karabayov said that the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry must resume talks with the Pentagon concerning construction of the second runway at the airport Manas.

"MP said that the U.S. side has recently promised to allocate $60 million for these purposes", politician said.

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