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Russian Defense Minister Discusses Base With Tajiks

DUSHANBE -- Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has visited the Tajik capital for closed-door talks that reportedly included discussion of a Russian base near the Tajik-Afghan border, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

No official statements were issued after the September 11 meeting.

Sources within the Tajik Foreign Ministry told RFE/RL that the sides discussed the lease of a Russian military base near Tajik-Afghan border and the legal status of Russian military personnel in Tajikistan.

Farukh Umarov, an analyst with the Presidential Center for Strategic Studies, alleged that the Russian side has never met obligations connected to the lease of the base.

In 2004, when then-President Vladimir Putin visited Dushanbe to discuss the base, he was said to have pledged to invest up to $ 2 billion to Tajikistan.

Last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was ready to discuss new terms of the Russian armed forces' presence in Tajikistan.