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U.S. General Discusses Bases With Turkmenistan Leader

24 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A top U.S. general says he has assured Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov that the American military is in the Central Asian region to help bring stability to Afghanistan.

General John Abizaid, chief of the U.S. Central Command, told reporters after meeting with Niyazov in Ashgabat on 23 August that the United States is not seeking to confront any other countries in the Central Asian region.

Uzbekistan's government recently asked U.S. forces to leave a base in Uzbekistan within six months, while Kyrgyzstan has come under pressure from Russia and China to demand that the U.S. set a date for a troop withdrawal from a base in Kyrgyzstan.

The U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat said Abizaid also held talks with Turkmenistan's defense minister and the border-service commander.