Interfax news agency quoted a deputy chief of the Russian Air Force, Lieutenant General Aitech Bizhev, as saying the two countries agreed last month that Russia could use the Navoi base, in eastern Uzbekistan, in the event of emergencies.
After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, Uzbekistan hosted U.S. troops for operations in Afghanistan. They were evicted in 2005.
Uzbekistan, Russia, And The West
President Karimov (left) with Russian President Putin in July 2005 (epa)
BETWEEN EAST AND WEST: One of the ramifications of the May 2005 bloodshed in Andijon has been a souring of relations between Tashkent and the West, accompanied by a raproachment between Uzbekistan and Russia. Following sharp U.S. and European criticism of the Andijon crackdown, Uzbekistan kicked the United States out of the Karshi-Khanabad air base and began actively courting Moscow.
"Today, we are reaching an unprecedented level in our relationship," Uzbek President Islam Karimov said during a November 2005 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, at which the leaders signed a strategic-partnership agreement. "I understand and we all understand in Uzbekistan that it is unprecedented that Russia signs such a partnership agreement with Uzbekistan."
For an annotated timeline of the Andijon events and their repercussions, click here.