6th April 17:22
Kyrgyzstan repeats demand for US troops pullout
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[NYTr] Kyrgyzstan repeats demand for US troops pullout
AP via Pravda - July 6, 2005
Kyrgyzstan repeats demand for U.S. troops pullout
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) wants to counteract the USA's
supremacy in the world. At the meeting in Kazakhstan yesterday the leaders
of the SCO member-countries called for the U.S.-led anti-terror coalition in
Afghanistan to set a time frame for withdrawing its forces from member
states. The claim has already raised concerns in the U.S., but Kyrgyzstan
decided it was not enough and repeated the claim.
Kyrgyzstan's top diplomat, acting Foreign Minister Roza Otunbayeva, on
Wednesday called once again for the U.S. to set a date for withdrawing
troops based in Central Asia in support of coalition forces in Afghanistan,
and said she didn't believe the demand would damage relations.
Otunbayeva told reporters she believed the situation in Afghanistan had
stabilized to such a degree that it merited asking how long the forces would
"The question we're posing is what is the term of presence," Otunbayeva
"We have put forward quite reasonable questions and I don't think our
relations (with the United States) should be damaged," she said.
According to the AP, about 2,000 U.S. service members are deployed at air
bases in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, according to the U.S. military. Another
200 French personnel are deployed at an air force base in Tajikistan.
The United States rejected the call for a deadline. U.S. State Department
spokesman Sean McCormack said the U.S. military presence "is determined by
the terms of our bilateral agreements, under which both countries have
concluded that there is a benefit to both sides from our activities."
At the U.S. Defense Department, spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said that
regarding U.S. bases in Uzbekistan, "it's a decision the Uzbek government
has to make as to whether or not we would continue to operate from that."
Otunbayeva refused to say when the Kyrgyz leadership wanted the U.S. troops
Otunbayeva also said that Kyrgyzstan was seeking a balanced decision
regarding Uzbek asylum seekers who fled a violent crackdown in the eastern
Uzbek city of Andijan on May 13. The country has been under enormous
pressure from authorities in neighboring Uzbekistan to turn over more than
400 Uzbek residents that crossed the border after the crackdown.
The West has urged Kyrgyzstan's new leadership to fulfill its international
obligations to treat asylum seekers properly.
"We'll do everything to get out of this situation with dignity and in
dialogue with Uzbekistan and the international community," Otunbayeva said.
Uzbek authorities say some of the asylum seekers committed crimes in
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