In first days of the new year, airport in Kirghiz capital received the biggest airliner of the world – Mria AN-225 built as far back as the Soviet Union existed. This giant transported at once 250 ton of different loads for US military contingent located on Manas territory. The unique transcontinental flight one more time confirmed that US intentions are serious. All the more that one of these days, in USA Today newspaper a report about building US military base in Bishkek appeared. For these aims, Pentagon asked Kirghizia for an earth lot to lease. Plans of the US military institution are connected with the fact that Pakistan, as it turned out recently, asked the US to leave its military bases on Pakistani territory. Therefore, Kirghizstan becomes one of the most suitable places to locate the anti-terrorist forces. From here, aircraft could carry out offensive operations against different potential enemies, including China. Though these plans arouse different reaction in the republic. While in governing circles they are welcomed. Kirghiz President Askar Akaev, while answering questions of Kirghiz citizens during a TV translation, said US presence on Kirghiz territory would further “stability and security in Central Asia”. Private firms occupying themselves with fuel supply also welcome US troops’ arrival. While pessimists stress that within several weeks, US pilots’ presence in Kirghizia has not made any serious influence upon Kirghiz economy. American guests prefer to use what they have brought about themselves, while existing practically independently. Besides, it turned out that big money paid by the Americans for use of runway and navigation equipment would never get to the state budget. The airport that received them was privatized, so all the benefits of cooperation with US army will belong to private owners of Manas. Kirghiz deputies and politicians are seriously concerned with the inevitable reaction of neighbouring countries to deployment of US military base in Kirghizia. Russia, China, Uzbekistan hardly will be satisfied with it. Moscow is right while supposing this decision about the military base’s creation is evidence of the US having long-term plans connected in particular with Russia’s ousting from the region. China is not glad too, while seeing in its “back yard” the armed contingent of its eternal strategic opponent. Therefore, Kirghizia is threatened with aggravation of political isolation and complication of relationship with the neighbouring countries. While Kirghiz opposition is afraid that the West, feeling grateful for the rendered territories, will connive at dissident people’s oppression in the republic and at violation of human rights. All the more that one of these days, the Public Prosecutor’s Office arrested the Legislation Assembly’s deputy Azimbek Beknazarov criticising official authorities. Though anyway, the main thing could be noticed: Kirghizia becomes more far from neutrality that peculiar to it in the first years of its independence and becomes engaged in conflicts among superpowers, what does not promise either peace, or great incomes.
Yuri Razgulaev PRAVDA.Ru Bishkek Kirghizia Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/01/15/35565.html