Act Two in Kyrgyzstan's new drama, tentatively titled The Perils of Manas, is set in the Kyrgyz parliament. But the real action is playing out backstage.
The Kyrgyz government on February 4 submitted a draft law on closing an American air base at Manas to parliament for debate. There was no immediate word as to when legislators would take up the bill. The government move came less than 24 hours after President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, apparently acting at the behest of the Kremlin, signaled his intention to close the US facility, located outside of the capital Bishkek. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].
The US Embassy in Bishkek maintains that discussions about the future of the base are ongoing, and Kyrgyz opposition parties and Western diplomats say they would not bet on the base being decommissioned just yet.
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Deirdre Tynan is EurasiaNets correspondents in Bishkek.