April 04, 2014 11:56
Transit Center pullout from Manas airport is closed issue - U.S. diplomat
BISHKEK. April 4 (Interfax) - U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal says she did not discuss a longer presence of the Transit Center in Bishkek with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev.
She told a press conference on Thursday that the pullout of the Transit Center from the Manas Airport was a closed question and a possible extension of its presence was not on the agenda. The diplomat confirmed that U.S. servicemen were prepared to leave the base in July 2014.
Most forces and hardware will be removed from the airport by then, Biswal said. In her words, the U.S. respected the Kyrgyz decision not to extend the contract on the deployment of the Transit Center in Manas and was grateful for their cooperation.
The United States will keep on fighting terrorism and drug trafficking in Central Asia, Biswal said. She added that Central Asian countries had rendered enormous assistance to Afghanistan in the fight against drug trafficking.
Friendship between the United States and Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia in general goes beyond the issue of Afghanistan, and this partnership has broadened and supported the Kyrgyz economy, the diplomat continued.
As to the possible connection between her visit to Kyrgyzstan and the opposition's intention to stage a protest action on April 10, Biswal said the United States did not support any political movements or parties in Kyrgyzstan, did not give preference to either political party and did not finance anyone.
The U.S. aims to support only democratic processes, and it has been rendering assistance to the Kyrgyz parliament and state institutions since 2010, Biswal said. She noted that she had met with Kyrgyz leaders and the opposition at the American University of Central Asia.
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