Kyrgyzstan to Delay Decision to Shut Key U.S. Base

A Kyrgyzstan official says parliament will delay discussions on a proposal to close a key U.S. air base until next week.

President Kurmanbek Bakiyev announced plans this week to end the U.S. military presence in the impoverished nation after Russia unveiled a $2.2 billion financial aid package.

Government representative to parliament Murza Kaparov said Thursday that deputies should discuss the closure "slowly at committee stage and in the political party groupings," meaning the full parliament will debate it next week.

The legislature, dominated by a pro-Baikyev party, needs to approve the closure. The base is a crucial component of U.S. plans to expand military operations in Afghanistan.

U.S. forces will have 180 days to leave if the base is closed.