New Kyrgyz president doubts necessity of the U.S. base in the country

Just hours after Kurmanbek Bakiyev was said to have won presidential election in Kyrgyzstan (according to preliminary unofficial data), the new president-elect expressed his views on the relations of Kyrgyzstan and the USA.

According to Bakiyev, the necessity of the U.S. base in his country should be discussed.

Kurmanbek Bakiyev's statement came in his first news conference since being overwhelmingly chosen the Central Asian country's leader a day earlier, says the AP.

The comment echoed a call by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an alliance led by Russia and China that includes Kyrgyzstan, which said the United States should set a date for the withdrawal of its bases Kyrgyzstan and in neighboring Uzbekistan. "As the active military phase in the anti-terror operation in Afghanistan is nearing completion, the SCO would like the coalition's members to decide on the deadline for the use of the temporary infrastructure and for their military contingents' presence in those countries," it said.

"Afghanistan has had presidential and parliamentary elections. The situation there has stabilized. So now we may begin discussing the necessity of U.S. military forces' presence," Bakiyev said. "When and how it will happen, time will show."

The United States established its base at Bishkek's airport in late 2001. The agreement under which it was set up says either country can end the arrangement with 180 days' notice.

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