The United States and Kyrgyzstan appear to be on a collision course over potential surcharges on jet fuel consumed at a US military transit facility outside the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek.
A draft law to impose additional charges on aviation fuel used by US and NATO military forces at the Manas Transit Center has cleared its first hurdle in the Kyrgyz parliament. According to the bill, the charge would be collected at a rate of $100 per ton of fuel.
The US government is vehemently opposing the initiative, which was proposed by the opposition Ata Meken and Ar Namys parties. US officials contend the leasing agreement which covers Manas operations stipulates that fuel deliveries to the facility are tax exempt. Mina Corp, the current US contractor at the base, is also safeguarded by the lease agreement, US officials insist.
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Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in Central Asian affairs.