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Presence of U.S. airbase threatens Kyrgyz security, says president

(Xinhua)

09:18, December 30, 2011

BISHKEK, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev said on Thursday that the presence of a U.S. airbase near the capital Bishkek is dangerous to the republic.

"Kyrgyzstan does not need a U.S. airbase on the territory of a civilian airport," Atambayev said at a press conference.

The presence of the Transit Center at the Manas Airport is fraught with the danger that it could be attacked by Iran, whose relations with the U.S. lately have seriously worsened, he said.

"What if the Iranians, in case their tensions with the Americans grow, fire a missile at the Transit Center and it hits Bishkek?" Atambayev asked.

The president said he had explained his position to a U.S. official recently, and the latter expressed understanding.

Atambayev insisted that his position is "not a game" but something prompted by concerns about Kyrgyzstan's security, and therefore "there will be no Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan in 2014."

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