Speculation is mounting that Kyrgyzstan wants to repair relations with the United States after a dispute over human rights torpedoed ties last summer.
Kyrgyzstan’s dealings with the United States have historically oscillated from warm to chilly and back again. In 2001, Bishkek became a lynchpin of the NATO military campaign in Afghanistan by agreeing to host a strategically important US airbase, but lately attitudes toward Washington have been in a frosty phase, accompanied by an intensifying turn to Russia.
Matters came to a head last July, when Bishkek repealed a cornerstone 1993 cooperation treaty between the two countries in reaction to the US State Department bestowing a human rights award on a jailed ethnic Uzbek activist.
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Peter Leonard is EurasiaNet's Central Asia editor.