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Kyrgyzstan parliament delays vote on US base closing

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Kyrgyzstan's parliament on Thursday delayed a vote to decide whether Manas, a key US air base supporting NATO operations in Afghanistan, should be closed. The postponement comes after US State Department officials indicated that more compensation for the base may be available.

Still, the Kyrgyz government's submission of a decree to parliament for Manas's closure, which may have occurred at Russia's urging, is being seen as an attempt by Moscow to defend its regional interests. At a time when the Obama administration is hoping to step up efforts in Afghanistan, Russia also announced the formation of a rapid-reaction military force comprising post-Soviet nations.

According to the BBC, the Kyrgyz parliament has postponed discussions about Manas until the end of the month.

It remains unclear what the outcome of the parliament's vote might be, reports Reuters. While parliamentarians seem confident that the base's closure will be approved, officials at Manas believe nothing has been decided.

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