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Kyrgyzstan Asks Russia For Help Guarding Borders

(RFE/RL) May 21, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- The speaker of Kyrgyzstan's parliament, Marat Sultanov, said today he has asked Russian officials to provide aid to Kyrgyzstan to help guard his Central Asian republic's borders, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.

"We're saying, 'Please do strengthen the Collective Security Treaty Organization's base [in Kyrgyzstan]. Let's create reliable forces for guarding Kyrgyzstan's southern borders and deploy them there, and help the Kyrgyz army strengthen our border-guard service,'" Sultanov told a news conference at which he outlined results of a mid-May parliamentary delegation's visit to Moscow.

Earlier today, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency quoted Sultanov as saying he had asked Russian officials for the help, including the possibility of sending Russian border guards, as part of mutual-aid agreements under the CIS Collective Security Treaty.

Kyrgyzstan shares its southern border with China and Tajikistan.

Parliamentarian Arzybek Burkhanov in September described the Kyrgyz borders as "practically open" in a speech to fellow legislators.

Kyrgyz border guards head Zakir Tilenov announced in January 27 that security would be tightened along Kyrgyzstan's borders with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and new checkpoints built with funds from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the European Union's Commission for Cooperation with Central Asia.

(with material from RIA Novosti)

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Central Asia In Focus

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