Australian Defence Minister Robert Hill is surveying an international anti-terrorist coalition forces' air base at Manas airport of Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital, on Friday, US Army Brigadier-General George Patrick, who is in command of the base, reported at a press conference in Bishkek.
According to the general, the minister will examine the service conditions of Australian army officers and soldiers in Kyrgyzstan as a part of the coalition forces and discuss the development of the anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan with the base command.
According to specified information, during his visit to the republic Mr. Hill will not meet with Kyrgyz Defence Minister Esen Topoyev.
The coalition forces' warplanes, located at the Manas base, head for Afghanistan seven days a week "to protect humanitarian operations," Mr. Patrick reported. Soldiers and officers regularly patrol the territories, bordering on the base, to ensure security for locals and servicemen of the camp.
The number of the servicemen of the anti-terrorist coalition member countries, based on Kyrgyzstan's territory, "has reached the scheduled figures" and will not increase in the near future, General Patrick underlined.
There are about 1,900 servicemen from eight countries, including the US, Australia, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea and Spain, at the Manas air base. 10 fighters of the US and French air forces, military transport and tanker aircraft are at their disposal.
Agreements with the Kyrgyz government envisage that the base is intended for delivering humanitarian aid, providing military support and conducting military air activities in Afghanistan within the framework of the Unconquerable Liberty operation.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969