Kyrgyzstan: expulsion of 2 U.S. diplomats justifiable, official say

The ministry said in a statement that the Central Asian nation's intelligence agency had evidence that the two diplomats "repeatedly interfered in the country's internal affairs in a way that is not compatible with their diplomatic status."

The U.S. Embassy in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek said in a statement Tuesday that claims of the two diplomats having "inappropriate" contacts with nongovernment organizations were "simply not true" and that their expulsion was groundless.

Kyrgyz security officials accused the two diplomats of directing and funding Kyrgyz civil society leaders.

Kyrgyzstan and the United States are embroiled in a payment dispute that threatens the future of the U.S. military base used to support operations in nearby Afghanistan.

According to media reports, officials from the two countries are expected to start a final round of talks on the dispute on Wednesday. Neither side would officially confirm that, the AP reports.

Kyrgyzstan has proposed that Washington pay US$200 million a year  for use of the base, which was set up in 2001.

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