24 Jun 2009

Great Game: Point, US

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The Washington Post reports that a cool $180 million in US cash succeeded in changing the mind of the government of Kyrgyzstan, and the US will be allowed to retain use of a airbase vital for supplying military efforts in Afghanistan, Russia’s most recent $2 billion aid bribe to close US bases notwithstanding.

Russia was tricked by Kyrgyzstan over a deal with the United States to keep open a key air base in Central Asia, a Russian diplomat was quoted as saying by local media on Wednesday.

The United States has agreed to pay $180 million to Kyrgyzstan to keep open the last remaining U.S. air base in Central Asia which is used to supply troops fighting Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

Washington had been haggling to keep the base open since February, when the former Soviet republic announced its closure after securing pledges of $2 billion in aid and credit from Russia.

Moscow has made no secret of seeking to check U.S. interests in the former Soviet Union which it regards as its sphere of

The Kommersant newspaper quoted an unidentified Russian diplomat as saying Moscow viewed the U.S. move as a trick and that Russia would soon make an “adequate response” to the deal.

“The news about keeping the base was a very unpleasant surprise for us — we did not expect such a trick,” the diplomat said.

Russia’s move: February 5th posting.


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