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US diplomat in Kazakhstan brushes off Bishkek cargo rumors

AN-124 plane, the type that delivered "odd cargo" to US Embassy in Bishkek. Photo ©REUTERS AN-124 plane, the type that delivered "odd cargo" to US Embassy in Bishkek. Photo ©REUTERS

The US Consulate General in Kazakhstan explained the situation surrounding the delivery of a 152-ton cargo to their Kyrgyz colleagues from Abu Dhabi, Tengrinews reports.

The cargo in question was delivered to Manas airport on March 28 and 30 by an An-124 of Ukrainian Antonov Airlines. Since inspection of any of those containers was prohibited due to diplomatic immunity, political experts immediately recalled that similar deliveries were made to the Kiev airport of Borispol in Ukraine in November 2013.

Then, the cargo full of cash was used to support the Euromaidan - a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti ("Independence Square") in Kiev. The unrest ultimately led to the ousting of President Yanukovich and 2014 Ukrainian Revolution.

Ideas that the containers delivered to Manas were filled with weapons, cash and special equipment quickly began to circulate in the Kyrgyz media. They purported that these will be used to organize color revolutions in Central Asia.

In turn, the diplomats from the US Embassy in Bishkek claimed that the containers were carrying construction materials. This contention was challenged in the Kyrgyz media, which pointed out that the US embassy in Bishkek was not in need of repair. 

According to the adviser of the US Embassy in Kazakhstan on media, culture and education Charles Martin, the containers indeed contained building materials. This information, Martin said, was given to him by the diplomatic mission in Kyrgyzstan. He also said that the talk was not of expansion of the existing building but the construction of a new one.

"It is a routine shipment of materials. A new building for the US Embassy is being constructed there, because our relationship with the Kyrgyz government is developing well and the current building was too small. It's an old question. Conventional materials are needed for the construction of a new building. Diplomatic missions around the world receive such shipments on a regular basis. This cargo is handled on a routine basis in conjunction with the local government, according to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. After the completion of the building of the Embassy, the media will be invited to see it,” he said.

In addition, the diplomat called other versions of the events “unreasonable and irresponsible."

Reporting by Dmitry Khegai, writing by Dinara Urazova

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