Kyrgyzstan has proposed a "considerable" rent increase for the United States to use an air base in the ex-Soviet republic, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday. The ministry said in a statement that it proposed new base agreement terms that "envisage a considerable rent increase, compensation for environmental damage and provisions reflecting Kyrgyzstan's national interests."
It said the new terms were proposed in a note handed Tuesday to U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, but gave no further details. The note suggested that experts from both countries should meet "in the nearest future" to discuss the new terms.
U.S. Embassy officials had no immediate comment. Kyrgyzstan has hosted the air base, which supports combat operations in Afghanistan, since December 2001. The new Kyrgyz leadership, which came to power after the longtime president's ouster in March, has sought to increase revenues from the base.
Located at the country's main airport near the capital, Bishkek, it has become increasingly important for U.S. forces since neighboring Uzbekistan ordered the United States to vacate a site there. Kyrgyzstan also hosts a Russian air base near Bishkek, reports the AP. N.U.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart