Kyrgyzstan's police accused a group of U.S. officials of illegal possession of guns on Tuesday and seized dozens of firearms from their apartment, but the U.S. embassy in the Central Asian state denied the charge.
Washington operates a military base in Kyrgyzstan to support operations in nearby Afghanistan and sees the ex-Soviet nation as a key ally in Central Asia. But their relations have been soured after a string of incidents at the base in past years.
Kyrgyzstan's Interior Ministry said police seized six machine guns, 25 assault rifles and a number of smaller firearms late on Monday from a house rented by U.S. officials.
"Illegally possessed firearms and ammunition have been found and seized," it said in a statement. It added several embassy officials and servicemen were in the house at the time.
The U.S. embassy swiftly denied any wrongdoing, saying all the weapons had been officially registered in Kyrgyzstan.
"These servicemen had been invited to Kyrgyzstan by the Kyrgyz government to carry out anti-terror exercises for the Kyrgyz ministries," an embassy spokeswoman said in Russian-language remarks.
The U.S. base, established in 2001, has been the source of diplomatic friction between Washington and Kyrgyzstan since 2006 when a U.S. airman shot dead a Kyrgyz man there.
Also that year, another U.S. officer went missing in Bishkek and appeared three days later saying she had been abducted.
Months later, a U.S. tanker jet collided with a Kyrgyz passenger plane on the runway, causing the passenger plane to make an emergency landing immediately after take-off.
Opposition activists have held a number of rallies calling on the government to evict U.S. troops but officials have opposed the calls. Kyrgyzstan also hosts a Russian airbase.
Last Mod: 05 Ağustos 2008, 17:24