Armenia Agrees to Let US Use Airspace

YEREVAN (Reuters)–Armenia has agreed to let the United States use its airspace in any retaliation attacks on Afghanistan–state television reported on Thursday.

The decision would potentially allow US planes to fly from bases in Turkey towards the Caspian Sea–if neighboring Azerbaijan also gave its permission.

From there–they could fly to airbases in Central Asia–should they get permission to land in the ex-Soviet republics north of Afghanistan.

"Washington has officially asked Armenia to let them use the country’s airspace to carry out anti-terrorist operations," state television reported. It quoted a presidential spokesman as giving Armenia’s assent but gave no other details.

Armenia’s neighbor–NATO member Turkey has agreed to let the United States use its airbases and airspace for transport aircraft in any response to the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

The United States says Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers are harboring its main suspect for the attacks–Osama bin Laden.

Of the Central Asian states neighboring Afghanistan–Turkmen’stan has offered its airspace for "humanitarian" purposes. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have not officially offered their airbases–but Russia–still the main power in the area–has signaled they could do so.

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