US embassy says not notified over Kyrgyz base closure | world | Hindustan Times
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US embassy says not notified over Kyrgyz base closure

world Updated: Feb 04, 2009 13:16 IST
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The US embassy in Kyrgyzstan said on Wednesday that it had not received any notification that Bishkek was ordering the closure of a US military air base, saying the talks over its future would continue.

"We have not received formal notification," the embassy said in a statement. "Discussions will continue.

"We have a broad range of programs and interests we will continue to pursue with the government and people of Kyrgyzstan."

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said in Moscow on Tuesday that his government had decided to shut down the Manas air base, which serves as a vital supply route for NATO forces in Afghanistan.

He said the government had taken a decision over ending the "time period" during which the base would have been allowed to work on Kyrgyz soil but did not say by when it should be closed.

The base's location deep in former Soviet territory has annoyed an increasingly assertive Russia keen on restoring its influence in Central Asia.

A Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday that the United States hopes to continue using an airbase in Kyrgyzstan despite threats to close it, calling it "hugely important" for the resupply of US forces in Afghanistan.

The base had been set up to assist coalition forces fighting to oust the Taliban from Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks but Bishkek has expressed frustration it had continued to exist so long.