U.S. is looking forward to consulting with new leaders in Kyrgyzstan on Manas
The use of the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan by the U.S. military is secured by the current agreement which will remain in force for two more years, according to the U.S. Department of State spokesperson Victoria Nuland, CA-NEWS reported referring to Silk Road Newsline.
"We obviously have a firm agreement with the Government of Kyrgyzstan on the use of the base through 2014," Nuland told reporters in Washington on Tuesday.
When asked to comment on the media reports that Kyrgyzstan's former prime minister and the new president, Almazbek Atambaev, expressed willingness to close the Manas Transit Center, Nuland replied that the Obama administration is looking forward to discussing his plans.
"We look forward to consulting with the new government on what will happen after 2014. They have made clear to us that they do want to have that conversation, and we look forward to having it," she said.
Almazbek Atambaev said he envisioned some kind of civilian object in place of the Manas Transit Center.
"The Manas Transit Center, located at the Manas international airport near the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, has been a critically important supply and support hub for the U.S. and NATO war effort in Afghanistan since 2001 and is the only one of its kind in Central Asia.
The Center is a transit point for US military personnel going into and out of Afghanistan, and the staging area for most of the air operations going into and out of Afghanistan, including in-air aircraft refueling.
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, refueling tankers out of Manas are flying nearly 500 sorties a month.