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Kyrgyz MPs approve deployment of French, Spanish troops to Manas

RIA Novosti

15:22 05/10/2009 BISHKEK, October 5 (RIA Novosti) - A Kyrgyz parliamentary committee approved on Monday draft agreements allowing France and Spain to deploy troops at a U.S. center for transit to Afghanistan at the former-Soviet republic's Manas airbase.

Kyrgyz Deputy Foreign Minister Ruslan Kazakbayev said the agreements would replace earlier deals with the two countries that expire in October.

"Spain and France propose replacing previous agreements with new ones. Their proposals are currently being considered by Kyrgyz ministries and departments," Kazakbayev said.

French and Spanish officials will soon visit the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek to discuss the details of the agreements. A similar agreement has already been signed with the United States, the Kyrgyz diplomat said.

The U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has about 62,000 troops in Afghanistan under a UN mandate to give security support to the Afghan government and stop the flow of drugs from the country.

In February, Kyrgyzstan ordered the shutdown of the base, which had been used to support U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan since 2001. The decision was widely seen as being influenced by Russia, which had granted Kyrgyzstan a large financial aid package.

However, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev signed in July a law allowing the U.S. to continue using the airbase.

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