- The Washington Times - Monday, February 9, 2009

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) — A Kyrgyz lawmaker says parliament will delay a vote for at least a week on whether to close a key U.S. air base until the Central Asian nation receives aid promised by Russia.

Communist Party deputy Absamat Masaliyev said Monday that the parliamentary coordinating council agreed to not to consider the closure of the base this week because Russia had not yet delivered the promised aid.

In Moscow last week, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev announced closure of the Manas base, just minutes after Russia promised to give the Kyrgyzstan more than $2.1 billion in loans and aid.

Kyrgyz and Russian authorities deny the actions are related, but many analysts say the aid and the closure are part of a deal.

Moscow has pledged to deliver the aid by April 30.

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