Top US official says no final word Kyrgyz base closure
Moscow - Washington is still in negotiations with Kyrgyzstan that may allow it to avert the closure of an air base in the Central Asian state key to supplying troops in northern Afghanistan, a top US administration official said Friday.
"We have received an offer to negotiate from Kyrgyzstan, and there is a possibility that our deal on the use of this base remains effective," the US official told journalists in Moscow, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The country's foreign minister, also in Moscow to attend an international conference on Afghanistan, told news agency Interfax he could not immediately comment on whether talks were still ongoing with Washington.
"I don't know, I've been in Moscow the last two days," Kadyrbek Sarabayev said.
But Bishkek moved immediately to quell the doubts. A spokesman for President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Almas Turdumamadov, was quoted by the agency as saying Kyrgyzstan had not altered its position on terminating the US lease agreement.
Bakiyev signed a decree giving the United States 180 days to close the Manas facility - its only air base in Central Asia.
The order came after the financially-strapped country won a pledge from Russia of two billion dollars in aid, dueling speculations Moscow had set the base closure as a condition for the funds. (dpa)