Kyrgyzstan Wants $50 Million for Manas

by Nathan Hamm on 1/17/2006 · 8 comments

That Kyrgyzstan says it wants $50 million per year from the US for the Manas airbase as opposed to $200 million may as well be a sign that Russia and China are preoccupied. Or maybe it’s a sign that Bakiev wants to talk a bit more reasonably on base payments.

Parliamentary speaker Omurbek Tekebaev said late on 16 January that Kyrgyzstan will charge about $5 per square meter for the use of the Ganci base.

Neither side has disclosed the amount the United States currently pays for using the base at Bishkek’s Manas Airport, but Kyrgyz officials were widely expected to seek a significant increase in rent on the facilities.

This isn’t an entirely unreasonable amount to pay for the base. It would just be nice for the issue to be settled.

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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Laurence January 17, 2006 at 1:41 pm

Nathan, $50 million a year sounds like a bargain price these days. I think the US paid Pakistan something like a billion dollars for military cooperation after 9/11…

Brian January 17, 2006 at 2:04 pm

Yeah but again this goes to market prices… Pakistan’s cooperation was vital to the 9/11 response. Without overflight rights and security cooperation almost nothing could have happened. Plus you have a vast amount of anti-Americanism in Pakistan, so paying off the population (and the govt.) to get their support seems almost necessary.

Kyrgyzstan is important, but not vital. If I was Bakiev I would have tried to get $100 mil, but $50 seems fair on all sides to me… if it’s a long-term contract.

Brian January 17, 2006 at 2:06 pm

Also, it would be nice if there were transparency clauses in the contract to ensure that where future money goes (including fuel payments) is accounted for.

Rustam January 17, 2006 at 8:49 pm

Brian – I agree that it would be nice, but as You know in Central Asia we don’t like to show how we spend the money, it is against customs, culture and best practice standards established by the governments in the regions, so it is collective unfortunately.

Matt W January 17, 2006 at 9:02 pm

Rustam, you are right that there would be problems with detailed transparency clauses, but a simple clause stating that the amount of payments, the schedule and any revisions would be public information, I think, is reasonable for Kyrgyzstan.

Kuda January 19, 2006 at 3:17 am

$50 mill is peanuts. Bakiev should have played hard and fast and gone to chat to Putin etc. Bakiev is seen as pretty weak by the Kyrgyz, with the Uzbeks throwing out the US and the Shanghai’s gang calling for the US to leave, $50 mill represents a poor deal from a weak leader.

MbIPK January 19, 2006 at 4:12 am

Common practice. 50 to the state budget, 150 to the family.

Kuda January 19, 2006 at 4:15 am

Yeah, too right unfortunately. Maybe I was eing a bit naive.

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