Wednesday, February 25, 2004

US base in Uzbekistan?

The US may open a military base in Uzbekistan:

The United States would consider using Uzbekistan for temporary military bases, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday during a visit to this Central Asian country, where there is growing pressure to end human rights abuses.

The Pentagon is considering moving bases from Western Europe as part of a global realignment of troops. Rumsfeld said there were no plans to establish permanent bases in Uzbekistan, but he suggested that "expeditionary bases" — temporary sites for use by U.S. and allied troops — might someday be situated there.

"We have been discussing with various friends and allies the issue of operating sites … a place where the United States and coalition countries periodically and intermittently have access and support," Rumsfeld said, singling out Uzbekistan as a "wonderful" ally in the administration's war and reconstruction effort in Afghanistan. "What's important to us is to arrange [it] in a way and in places that are hospitable, where we have the possibility of using these facilities."


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