A number of nongovernmental organizations in Kyrgyzstan require that the governments of the United States and Kyrgyzstan clearly define the duration of their stay at the Manas airbase. On the eve of his first official visit to Russia, the head of the Kyrgyz state made an official statement in which he demanded to finish the negotiation process on the future presence of American military forces in the country before June 1, 2006. According to the Kyrgyz side, negotiations on this issue have been delayed for nine months already. Otherwise, the official Bishkek reserves the right to unilaterally withdraw from the joint agreement signed on December 4, 2001.
Prior to this, the American military airbase “Manas”, if they remembered in Kyrgyzstan, it was only in the context of environmental problems or in the picturesque reports from the garbage dump of the airbase, due to which the population of nearby settlements lives. For the first time, the official speech about the closure of the American military airbase “Manas” near Bishkek was raised during the summit of the heads of the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Astana in July 2005. The open anti-American subtext of the SCO statement was largely provoked primarily by the position of official Beijing and was actively supported by Russia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Official Bishkek found itself in a difficult diplomatic situation. On the one hand, Washington is crushing, and the other is the SCO in the face of Moscow and Beijing. The fact that the meeting of the SCO member states in Astana was the first entry into the political world of the new president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, after the events of March 24, cannot be discounted. I hardly wanted the new political leadership of the country to begin its rule with US ultimatums or to spoil relations with its neighbors.
It was after this statement of the SCO member states that a lightning visit of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the countries of Central Asia, including Kyrgyzstan, took place. The official authorities of Uzbekistan demanded in harsh closure of the American military base in Hanobad, and it was necessary to urgently save the Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan so that it would not suffer the same fate. Prior to that, for the same reason, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld also came to Bishkek. As a result of the backstage negotiations, it was not about closing the Manas airbase, but about increasing the rent and the timing of extending the base. Washington did not hide the fact that for loyalty Kyrgyzstan will receive serious financial assistance. The US government has already expressed its willingness to allocate $ 32 million to Kyrgyzstan in 2007, which is $ 8 million more than last year.
In its annual counterterrorism report, the State Department called Kyrgyzstan a “sincere and reliable ally in the fight against terrorism.” At the same time, Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, made it clear that the negotiation process should end positively for everyone. Simply put, the closure of the Manas military base is out of the question.
The financial issue around the Manas airbase almost turned into a diplomatic scandal. At one time, the local press flashed a message that the FBI had information about the accounts of the family of the former president of Kyrgyzstan in the United States, among which there was also the Ganci airbase. Comments by the ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to the US, Zamira Sydykova, to the New York Times on the financial situation around the American base irritated the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry. In Bishkek, they were forced to make an official statement saying: “... as for the question raised by the Ambassador ... the need for financial compensation from the United States for previous deliveries of jet fuel, the proceeds of which probably did not fall into the republican budget, jet fuel It is not included in the concept of “Manas Airport Infrastructure”, negotiated by a bilateral agreement, and therefore represents the relationship strictly between the airbase and private Kyrgyz companies. At the same time, on this specific issue, the experts of the two countries are reconciling information about payments by the American side.
In view of the foregoing, we believe that our position is fully shared by the President of the country that the Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to Washington Sydykova, as the official representative of our state, did not have the authority to make such comments to American newspapers ... ”. By “private companies”, in her comment to the American media, Ms. Ambassador meant enterprises related to the family of the former president of the country.
At the same time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic emphasizes that the leadership of the republic has no financial claims to the American side for using the Manas airport infrastructure in previous years. The American authorities do not like the fact that American objects, in particular the Manas air base, began to appear in the corruption scandal around former President Askar Akayev.
Hoping for the talkativeness of the new authorities of Kyrgyzstan, the US government is ready to almost double the rent. According to some data, since 2001 (as the Manas airbase was established), the United States annually paid about $ 40 million for operating a military base, and according to local media, only $ 8 million has been received by the state budget since 2001.
On January 24, 2006, the US Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Marie Yovanovitch was presented with an official Note with new terms of an agreement on the continued stay in Kyrgyzstan of the American military base. Since the work of the expert commissions of the two countries is still ongoing, the content of the new terms of the agreement on the Manas airbase has not yet been made public.
Also, at the end of 2005, official Kyrgyz authorities made cautious statements about rent increases, checking how Washington would react to this. Then the president declared that “there is a need to revise the terms of the agreement between Kyrgyzstan and the United States. Those rates that existed in 2001 for the deployment of the American military base "Manas" need to be reconsidered in order for the country's economy to receive additional investments from this. " To which the same Boucher stated that "What is the proper price for using the airbase, what is the appropriate amount of compensation to the government - this is a matter of discussion that will be based on objective criteria, and not on some figure taken from the ceiling."
According to the ex-speaker of parliament, Omurbek Tekebaev, the country's budget should receive more than $ 12 million for "loyalty" to the American military force located near Bishkek. Finally, the Foreign Ministry of Kyrgyzstan did not fail to assure official Washington that Kyrgyzstan intends to continue to make its significant contribution to the process of stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan, on which security in the Central Asian region largely depends.