Russia’s state-run oil giant Rosneft wants to purchase a majority stake in the state-controlled company that owns all of Kyrgyzstan’s civilian airports. The negotiations are stoking concern in some circles in Bishkek about the potential risk to Kyrgyzstan’s sovereignty. But with its entrenched corruption, poor governance and remote location, the Central Asian country has few other options.
In a development that could influence Kyrgyzstan’s willingness to prolong the lease of the Manas Transit Center outside Bishkek, a US Embassy official has confirmed that a joint Kyrgyz-Russian venture is now delivering the majority of fuel consumed at the base.
Perhaps with an eye on obtaining a higher rent, Kyrgyz leaders are sending mixed signals concerning the future of an American military facility in Kyrgyzstan beyond 2014, the year the bulk of US and NATO forces are supposed to be out of Afghanistan.
With the United States and its allies preparing for the 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan, a top British defense official who recently visited the region believes that British forces are close to securing overland transit routes via Central Asian states to extract military equipment.