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General Myers: Good afternoon and thank you for this opportunity to speak with you. I've just come from a very positive meeting with the President, where I thanked him for the Kyrgyz Republic's support to our war on terrorism. I think our military-to-military cooperation has never been better. We commend and thank the people of the Kyrgyz Republic for their courage in being a partner in this war on terrorism. Your nation is very supportive of this global war on terrorism, and we very much appreciate it. One of the things we look forward to is broadening our military-to-military cooperation with the Kyrgyz Republic's armed forces as well. The interaction that we have now out at Manas airbase I think will help us in the future to train well together, not just here in the Kyrgyz Republic, but also in the United States. And with that I think we have time for about three questions.
Question From Reuters: Do Coalition forces plan to expand their presence here, and how long will they be here?
General Myers: I think the forces are still building up at Manas, and you will see some, I think, increase in forces. And that's been worked up with the Government here of course. And that includes not just the U.S. but other coalition forces. And as to the length of time they will be here, I think that depends on how the war on terrorism goes, particularly the effort in Afghanistan. And let me just add that we're here and [the] coalition is here, of course, for the war on terrorism, so this will not be a permanent presence.
Question From Interfax: Can we expect Russian military forces to be among the Coalition forces deployed at Manas airport?
General Myers: I am not aware that there will be Russian forces here. I mean I can't rule it out, but I am personally not aware that there will be Russian forces here as part of the coalition.
Question From Slovo Kyrgyzstana: You have already met with the Minister of Defense. What other areas of military cooperation are you planning to have aside from the forces that have been deployed at Manas airport and will operate from there?
General Myers: Well, actually we go to the Minister of Defense's office next, but the areas of cooperation will be in some exercising together, U.S. forces and Kyrgyz forces, and also in training for the forces here. And there'll also be some training going on in the United States, I would expect, whether for English language training or other special training for the Kyrgyz armed forces. One more question.
Question From Interfax: How much money you are going to allocate this year to military cooperation with the Kyrgyz military?
General Myers: I think we are still looking at those numbers. The way our budget works in the United States, we are submitting a supplemental budget request to our Congress. Some of the money will be in there, so the actual amount is yet to be determined, but we consider this relationship very, very important. We look forward to continue. Thank you very much.
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