Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Next round of talks on Russian base in Kyrgyzstan due in Sept.

The next round of Russian-Kyrgyz talks on the status and terms of the United Russian Military Base's stay in the Central Asian country will be held in September in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Defense Ministry reported Tuesday.

Kyrgyzstan hosts five Russian military facilities, including the airbase in the city of Kant, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) outside the capital, Bishkek, a naval training base and a torpedo development enterprise at Lake Issyk-Kul, as well as two seismic facilities in the Issyk-Kul and Jalalabad regions used for monitoring nuclear tests in the world.

A relevant memorandum was signed by Bakiyev and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in August 2009. It stipulated the opening of a Russian training center for Russian and Kyrgyz soldiers and the deployment of up to 500 additional soldiers in the Central Asian republic.

Moscow and Bishkek discussed the issue of creating a United Russian Military Base in Kyrgyzstan during Kurmanbek Bakiyev's presidency. Bakiyev was overthrown amid large-scale opposition protests in April and fled the country.

An agreement on the issue should have been drawn up by November 2009. However, the Russian and Kyrgyz authorities were reluctant to prepare the document. The deal was shelved after April's coup in the republic.

"In September, Russia plans to send to Bishkek a working group led by deputy chief of the General Staff Col. Gen. Valery Gerasimov," the Kyrgyz Defense Ministry reported commenting on the results of the visit to Moscow by Defense Minister Abibilla Kudaiberdiyev on September 12-13.

Discussions during the visit focused on a draft agreement between Kyrgyzstan and Russia on the United Russian base.
The United States also has a facility in Kyrgyzstan, previously a military base and now a transit center for supplying troops in Afghanistan.

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