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Russia, Tajikistan Agree On Military Base, Debt


16 October 2004 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin, on a visit to Takijistan, today signed a series of bilateral deals, including one establishing a permanent military base in the Central Asian country.

The base will host the 5,000-strong 201st Motorized Rifle Division that has remained deployed in Tajikistan ever since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Putin vowed to strengthen further Russia's military presence in Tajikistan as part of plans to reinforce Central Asia's stability. Moscow already has an air base in neighboring Kyrgyzstan.

Other bilateral documents signed today in Dushanbe include a Russian pledge to invest nearly $2 billion in Tajikistan over the next five years.

Moscow also agreed to forgive Dushanbe $330 million in debt.

(ITAR-TASS/RIA-Novosti/AP)
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