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Russian-Kyrgyz Military Agreement To Be Signed By March


Russian jet fighters in training near Kant air base

Russian jet fighters in training near Kant air base

BISHKEK -- A Russian military official says a new Russian-Kyrgyz agreement on military cooperation will be signed by March, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

General Valery Gerasimov, the deputy chief or staff of the Russian Armed Forces, told journalists in Bishkek today that all Russian military facilities in Kyrgyzstan will be brought under a single command.

Gerasimov said Russia's military air base in Kant, its military communication point in Chaldovar, a torpedo testing station in Issyk-Kul, and a seismic station in Maily-Suu will be under one military command, according to the new agreement.

The Russian Defense Ministry delegation headed by Gerasimov arrived in Bishkek on September 20 and began talks with Kyrgyz military officials on bilateral military cooperation the following day.

Gerasimov said at the press conference today that the possibility of opening a Russian military training camp in Kyrgyzstan's southern Osh Oblast was not discussed during the talks. He added that one of the issues discussed was the possible opening of a joint Russian-Kyrgyz military base in Kyrgyzstan.

Gerasimov also announced that a visit to Bishkek by Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov scheduled for September 25 has been canceled, but did not say why. Serdyukov was expected to travel to Bishkek with the chief of Russia's Border Guard Service, Vladimir Pronichev.

Kyrgyz media reported that Serdyukov and Pronichev would sign agreements with Kyrgyz military officials on bilateral cooperation.

Kyrgyzstan said last week it wants a several-fold increase in the $4.5 million rent that Russia pays for leasing military facilities in Kyrgyzstan. The possibility of Russia providing armaments in partial payment of the lease is reportedly also under consideration.

The U.S. military annually pays some $60 million to Kyrgyzstan to lease a military transit center at Manas Airport outside of Bishkek.
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