Friday, June 08, 2012 -
The Kyrgyz Prosecutor General’s office on Wednesday said it is investigating a comment by Washington’s top U.S. diplomat to Russia that Moscow bribed officials of Kyrgyzstan’s then-president Kurmanbek Bakiev.
“The Prosecutor General’s office has begun an investigation into the U.S. diplomat’s statement and is carefully studying all publications connected with his speech,” the RIA Novosti news agency reported Deputy Prosecutor Nurlanbek Zheenaliyev as saying.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said in late May that Russia “paid off Kyrgyzstan to kick the Americans out of Manas,” airbase, a critical logistics hub used by coalition forces fighting the Taliban in nearby Afghanistan.
The prosecutor-general plans to ask McFaul to officially provide facts and explanations to back up his claims, Zheenaliyev said.
The U.S. diplomat has since softened his choice of words after the Russian government expressed outrage at his comments delivered during a lecture to students at the higher School of Economics in Moscow.
“I regret using the word ‘bribe’. I should have said: ‘an economic aid package’. My statement was a mistake, and I regret it,” McFaul said in Moscow.
McFaul said that Washington offered a much smaller bribe of their own.
Bakiev threatened to close the Manas base in December 2008 and two months later terminated the lease agreement. But he then signed another deal to allow the
U.S. to use the facility in exchange for a monetary package for Kyrgyzstan.