17 Apr 2010

US airbase lease extended

7:58 pm on 17 April 2010

The interim government of Kyrgyzstan is to extend the US lease on a key airbase.

Deputy leader Omurbek Tekebayev said on Friday the agreement for Manas airbase - a logistics hub for Afghanistan - would extend for another year.

The US had feared that the change of government in the Central Asian republic could affect the base deal.

Ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev flew to Kazakhstan on Thursday, easing fears of violence. He has since resigned.

He was overthrown in mass protests on 7 April. More than 80 people were killed during anti-government protests in the capital, Bishkek, and other towns.

Mr Tekebayev said that parliament should make the decision on the base, but because there was currently no parliament in place the lease, which runs out in July, would automatically be renewed.