Kazakhstan will not create alternative to Manas base not to spoil relations with neighbors

Kazakhstan Materials 8 December 2011 19:31 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 8 / Trend, E. Kosolapova /

Kazakhstan will not create an alternative to the Manas Transit Center in its territory due to a fear of worsening relations with partners on regional projects, Kazakh political analyst Dosym Satpayev believes.

"I doubt that there will be an analog of Manas in Kazakhstan in the form as it was in the territory of Kyrgyzstan," Satpayev told Trend over telephone. "The U.S military presence in the Caspian region could cause some neighboring countries' negative reaction. Therefore, Astana should think whether to agree to such a form," he said.

The U.S. Manas air base was located at the international airport of the Kyrgyz capital in 2001 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Later it was renamed as the Transit Center, which is a key point of redeployment of equipment and U.S. troops to place of combat operations in Afghanistan. A contract on the deployment of base is valid until 2014.

Early Kazakh media outlets reported that Kazakhstan proposed to create transport and logistics center, focused on goods delivery to Afghanistan, in "Aktau Sea Port" FEZ in the Caspian Sea.

Several Western media outlets stated that the center can be an alternative to the U.S. Manas military base in Kyrgyzstan, fate of which remains unclear.

The new president of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev said earlier that he considers it necessary to withdraw the U.S. military base in the republic. He explained his position that the presence of the U.S. base does not meet the country's interests.

Satpayev said creating the U.S. military base in the Caspian Sea will definitely cause negative reaction from Iran, which has enough tense relations with Washington, and Russia, which has repeatedly stated that the U.S. presence in one or another form in the Caspian region is undesirable, and even from China, which is not interested in the U.S. to maintain influence in Central Asia. And Kazakhstan in this regard will take into account the views of its closest partners.

At the same time Satpayev did not exclude possible creation of a base for transportation of non-military goods in Aktau. He said it is likely that the U.S. will actively use this base to transport its goods to Afghanistan.

"Now the Americans have a serious problem with Pakistan on transit of goods. Therefore, it is likely that they will try to intensify the Central Asian direction," Satpayev said.

On the night of Nov.26, several NATO military helicopters intruded into Pakistan's airspace from Afghanistan's territory and attacked a roadblock in Mohmand tribal area in north-west of the country. Some 24-28 Pakistani militaries died as a result, including two officers, 14 other soldiers were wounded.

In response to NATO attack Pakistan blocked transit of NATO supplies for NATO militaries in Afghanistan through its territory, demanding the United States to leave the secret airbase Shamsi, where U.S. drones were based, and stated that it would review all contracts with the U.S. and NATO on political and military spheres.

Under the current agreement between Kazakhstan and the U.S., today Kazakhstan allows transportation of the U.S. goods through its territory, if they are non-military supplies.