Kyrgyz interim leader says US base unjustified

April 17, 2010 17:03

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — A top official in Kyrgyzstan's interim government told The Associated Press on Saturday that a US air base supporting operations in Afghanistan is "not justified," the first sign of significant divisions over the facility.

Since a bloody uprising that culminated in the toppling of former Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the interim government's leader has announced the Manas air base can remain open for a year after the lease expires in July.

Azymbek Beknazarov, the acting prosecutor general and deputy leader of the interim government, has charged the US with ignoring their oppression when they opposed Bakiyev because it wanted to protect Manas.

"All the Americans care about is that the military base stays," Beknazarov said. "They forgot about freedom, about democratic values. They forgot about Kyrgyzstan — they are only looking at their military base."

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