Monday, January 19, 2009

Kyrgyzstan to keep the American airbase

After hanging in the air for some time, the rumors of the Kyrgyz Government asking Americans to close the Ganci airbase, stationed at Manas airport were dismissed at the press conference of Gen. Petreus in Bishkek on January.

The rumor started after the Russian "Kommersant'" reported, with reference to reliable sources in the government, that President Bakiyev will ask the Americans to wrap up in exchange for some 2 bln dollars of Russian credit and investments into the energy sector.

The Kyrgyz officials have not made any statement during those three days. Interestingly enough, the issue was settled by Gen. Petreus and not Kyrgyz PM Chudinov or President Bakiyev. The Americans have also acknowledged their willingness to increase the financing of the airbase.

Had the Kyrgyz government closed the airbase, the Americans would have lost their second fortpost in Central Asia, after the Uzbek Khanabad's closure in 2005. It would have also signalled a change in the foreign vector of the Kyrgyz executive. However, the present government seems to continue the multi-vector policy of former Pr. Akayev, which among the people was simply called "sitting on two chairs simultaneously"

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