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Kyrgyzstan Facilities

Kyrgyzstan favors close relations with the United States and would like to deepen bilateral relations. Kyrgyzstan has advanced quickly in the area of democratic reform; however, recent setbacks in democratization have caused serious concern IIN the United States and make it difficult to expand relations to areas outside of security and the economy. The United States is disturbed by the deregistration of political parties, the pursuit of criminal charges, and the arrests of political figures by the Kyrgyz Government in order to pressure opposition. Because of the threat posed by insurgents and their ties to foreign terrorist organizations, security remains a top concern of the United States. The U.S. Government provides humanitarian assistance, nonlethal military assistance, and assistance to support economic and political reforms. It also has supported Kyrgyzstan's requests for assistance from international organizations.

The United States helped Kyrgyzstan accede to the WTO in December 1998, and U.S. assistance has aided Kyrgyzstan to implement necessary economic reforms, support the Ferghana Valley, and fund important health programs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Kyrgyzstan on 22 October 2003 to attend the official opening of a Russian air base in Kant, near the capital, Bishkek. The new Russian air base is in a country that is already hosting other military visitors - part of the U.S.-led antiterrorism coalition engaged in Afghanistan. Kyrgyz Defense Minister Esen Topoev has ensured that Russia's air base will have a "sobering effect" on terrorist groups planning to destabilize the region. he agreement will be in force for at least 15 years, but may then be extended by five-year terms. More than 500 military and civilian personnel and about 20 aircraft -- including attack planes, fighter planes, transport planes, and helicopters -- will be based in Kant. Four trainer planes will also be transferred from Kyrgyzstan's armed forces.

Extremist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a terrorist organization with links to Al Qaeda, may be planning terrorist acts targeting Americans or American interests in the Kyrgyz Republic. The U.S. Government is aware of increased IMU activity in Central Asia. There are indications that extremists may be planning a range of terrorist attacks targeting U.S. interests in the Kyrgyz Republic. The U.S. Embassy in Bishkek continues to observe heightened security precautions. Travel by U.S. Government personnel to areas of the Kyrgyz Republic south and west of Osh is currently restricted. This restriction is due to the history of IMU activity in the area and the presence of land mines in the Batken Oblast region and along the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border. The U.S. Embassy strongly recommends against travel to these areas.