U.S. Transit Center will be shut down on schedule – Kyrgyz premier

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(Interfax – BISHKEK, July 9, 2013) Kyrgyz Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev has denied rumors claiming that the presence of the U.S. Transit Center at Manas International Airport near Bishkek could be prolonged.

“These are just rumors. The government submitted a bill renouncing the agreement with the U.S. on the deployment of the Transit Center at Manas Airport to parliament. Parliament adopted it and then the president signed it into law,” Satybaldiyev was quoted by the Akipress news agency as saying on Tuesday.

“The Transit Center will be removed from Kyrgyzstan in 2014,” he said.

The government “has already formulated certain plans aimed at transforming Manas International Airport into a civilian hub,” he said.

Calculations are also being made how to compensate for the payments made by the center to the Kyrgyz budget following its closure, the prime minister said.

“Negotiations are currently under way with investors from the U.S., Russia and Turkey. If we want to turn Manas Airport into a civilian hub, it ought to meet international standards: offer low-cost aviation fuel and maintenance services. Kyrgyzstan is unable to provide low-cost aviation fuel on its own. That is why we will not manage without investors. But the first plans have already been drawn up,” he said.

“The number of civilian flights have already increased 20%, and the number of military flights have declined 30%” at the Transit Center, Satybaldiyev said.

In July 2013, the Kyrgyz Parliament passed a bill renouncing the agreement on the U.S. Transit Center’s operations at Manas International Airport and asking the U.S. to shut down the center before July 11, 2014.