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Kyrgyzstan reaches agreement with France and Spain on use of Manas International Transit Centre
On Oct. 5, the Kyrgyz parliament's Committee on International Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Cooperation approved proposed agreements with France and Spain on their use of the Manas International Transit Centre.
KYRGYZSTAN — On Oct. 5, the Kyrgyz parliament's Committee on International Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Cooperation approved proposed agreements with France and Spain on their use of the Manas International Transit Centre.
Committee Chairman Erik Arsaliev said that the approvals were referred to the Kyrgyz Ministry of Foreign Affairs with amendments. The Committee asserted that free use of the airport was completely out of the question. “These countries should pay the airport for the takeoff and landing of planes, as well as for air navigation services,” Arsaliev said.
Spanish officials will arrive in Bishkek for talks on Oct. 9. French diplomats are also expected to visit in the near future for further discussions. According to the proposed agreement, the French can station one refuelling aircraft and 40 personnel at Manas. Agreements with both countries will be signed for five years, with a one-year automatic extension if the parties have not terminated the contracts.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ruslan Kazakbaev indicated the possibility of other NATO countries also seeking to station troops at the transit centre. In March, Bishkek renounced its agreement with these countries after deciding to close the American Gansi airbase at Manas Airport.
The base was created in 2001 to support troops active in Afghanistan. Aside from U.S. troops and military equipment, the base accommodated contingents from 11 NATO-member countries. After several months of talks, the U.S. and Kyrgyzstan signed a new agreement last June to create a transit centre to support international operations in Afghanistan, for which the U.S. will pay $60 million a year. Under the earlier arrangement, the cost was $17.4 million. The centre currently has more than 1,000 U.S. Defence Department personnel, as well as cargo, military transport planes and refuelling aircraft.
[24.kg, Ferghana.ru, CA-News.org, Vesti.kz, Gazeta.kz]