Vol. 5 Num 400 Tue. July 12, 2005  

Bakiyev calls for review of US presence after Kyrgyz polls win

Kyrgyzstan intends to review the presence of a US base on its territory, president-elect Kurmanbek Bakiyev said on Monday at his first news conference since he was elected president of the strategic central Asian state.

"The question of the departure of the American base was raised at the last summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation because the situation in Afghanistan has changed," Bakiyev said, referring to a meeting of the regional security grouping earlier this month.

"We can therefore review the usefulness of the presence of American forces in Kyrgyzstan," Bakiyev told reporters.

The Western base at Kyrgyzstan's main international airport is known as Manas by Kyrgyzstan and by the United States as Ganci -- the name of a firefighter who died in the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

It was set up to help overthrow Afghanistan's Taliban administration in 2001 and initially hosted forces from several countries in the US-led coalition.

More recently however it has hosted only US forces, numbering about 1,000 in all.

Bakiyev was speaking after gaining a landslide victory at an election Sunday to choose a successor to ousted leader Askar Akayev.