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Kyrgyzstan to Close US Airbase in 2014

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Kyrgyzstan's president-elect has told the United States that its Manas airbase has to close when its lease expires in mid-2014.

Former Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev, who won Sunday's presidential election with more than 60 percent of the votes, said Kyrgyzstan would honor the current lease but has no intention of extending it.

The United States has used the base, which is adjacent to the Manas civilian airport, as a key supply transit center for the war in Afghanistan. Atambayev pointed to U.S. conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and worsening relations with Iran, saying he did not want to risk one of those countries making a retaliatory strike on the base.

Russia also has a base in Kyrgyzstan, and views the former Soviet Central Asian nation as part of its traditional sphere of influence.

Article by VOA News