US Secretary Of State, Kirghiz Leadership To Ponder Central Asian Security

The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, will arrive in Bishkek on Saturday and have talks with the Kirghiz leadership, headed by President Askar Akayev, later this day. Sources in the Kirghiz Foreign Ministry said that at the negotiations the American Secretary of State and the Kirghiz leaders would discuss the revival of the republic's activities within the framework of the international anti-terrorist coalition, the Afghan developments and preservation of stability and security in the Central Asia region. May experts directly link this issue to the developments in Afghanistan. It is envisaged to consider technicalities related to the deployment of US air force units in Kirghizia. Approximately four dozen American warplanes will be deployed in Manas international airport of Bishkek in line with a Kirghiz government decision, which has gained parliamentary approval. These negotiations will likely raise the problem of deploying air-force warplanes from some countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in Kirghiz air bases. At issue are French Mirage bombers and F-15 fighters, which will take part in the anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan. The governments of Italy, Canada and France have already asked the Kirghiz authorities to provide its military airfields for their warplanes. Kirghizia has not yet officially announced its decision on this issue. The post-conflict development of Afghanistan will be a priority at the talks between the US Secretary of State and the Kirghiz president. A number of issues related to bilateral trade and economic relations will also be considered. On Saturday night Colin Powell will leave Bishkek for Astana.