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Kyrgyzstan says may close U S airbase if no deal

By Staff
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BISHKEK, Apr 19 (Reuters) Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said today he may shut down a U S military base in his country if Washington does not agree to a new contract.

''Kyrgyzstan reserves the right to consider stopping (the current agreement) if certain circumstances do not allow us to finish negotiations by June 1, 2006,'' Bakiyev said in a statement.

U S forces set up the base in Kyrgyzstan when they overthrew the Islamist Taliban government in Afghanistan in 2001. Bakiyev has in the past asked the United States to pay more rent for the base but said the Americans can stay until Afghanistan is entirely stable.

REUTERS SRS DS1300

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