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Kyrgyz Presidential Election Winner Against U.S. Military Presence

October 31, 2011

BISHKEK -- Former Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev, who has declared victory in the October 30 presidential election, says he opposes the use by the United States of the military transit center at Manas airport near Bishkek, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Talking to RFE/RL on October 31, Atambaev said he would prefer if Manas were "not a military, but a civilian airport."

Atambaev recalled the U.S. military operations in Iraq and said there is no guarantee that similar operations will not be conducted in other countries, such as Iran.

"If some day the opposite side responds to a U.S. attack with a missile attack, not just the military transit center, but Bishkek itself might be razed to the ground," Atambaev said.

The military transit center at Manas airport has been used by U.S. troops for conducting operations in Afghanistan under an agreement that expires next year.


Copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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