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Russian Defense Minister Holds Talks In Kyrgyzstan

Ivanov and Isakov inspecting donated Russian military equipment at the Kant base near Bishkek today (RFE/RL) BISHKEK, October 4, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who is on a visit to Bishkek, today discussed military cooperation with his Kyrgyz counterpart Ismail Isakov, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.

Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister in the Russian government, later met with Kyrgyzstan's Prime Minister Feliks Kulov.

Addressing reporters ahead of the meeting, Kulov praised military ties with Russia.

"We greatly appreciate the military and technical assistance we've been receiving from Russia and it is my pleasure to state today that thanks to Russia's help we've already solved and we're solving a number of problems, first of all with regard to the strengthening of our defense capabilities," Kulov said.

Following his talks with Kulov, Ivanov proceeded to the Russian military airbase of Kant, some 30 kilometers of Bishkek.

There, he formally donated military equipment worth $2.5 million to Kyrgyzstan.

On October 5, Ivanov will attend the final phase of a joint Kyrgyz-Russian antiterrorism drill that is under way in southern Osh Region.

The exercise involves some 500 Kyrgyz and Russian troops.

(with material from, Interfax, and ITAR-TASS)

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