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Kyrgyzstan not for more foreign forces

Vladimir Radyuhin

MOSCOW: The "tulip revolution" leaders in Kyrgyzstan are against any build-up of foreign military presence in the Central Asian republic.

"I do not think there is any need to deploy additional foreign forces in Kyrgyzstan," the Prime Minister and acting President, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, said after talks with the visiting U.S. Defence Secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld, in Bishkek. Mr. Rumsfeld said the U.S. air force base at Ganci in Kyrgyzstan will remain till the completion of the war in Afghanistan. Earlier, U.S. defence officials suggested the U.S. bases in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan will stay beyond the Afghanistan campaign. Mr. Bakiyev also poured cold water on U.S. plans to deploy several AWACS spy planes at the Ganci base. He said the issue was not discussed during his talks with Mr. Rumsfeld. The U.S. military has KC-135 refuelling aircraft and C-130 cargo planes, as well as about 1,000 troops stationed at Ganci. Russia also has an air force base in Kyrgyzstan, and the new Kyrgyz leaders have pledged to keep both the Russian and the U.S. bases in place.

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