DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan's Foreign Ministry has denied a Russian general's statement that Dushanbe has agreed to accept Moscow's conditions to extend Russia's rights to use a military base on Tajik territory for a further 49 years.
A Tajik Foreign Ministry official told RFE/RL that the statement by the Russian Army’s Ground Forces commander, General Vladimir Chirkin, was "groundless."
Chirkin told journalists earlier on July 17 that Tajik officials have generally accepted the Kremlin’s demands for "no-fee operations," allowing the base to be used by Russia's 201st Motorized Rifle Division for 49 years.
The current base agreement ends in 2014. Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi told journalists on July 16 that talks regarding the military base are continuing and would be held "behind firmly closed doors."
The Russian rifle division has 7,500 servicemen based near Dushanbe.