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Russian Military Delegation Begins Talks In Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan's Kant air base
Kyrgyzstan's Kant air base
BISHKEK -- A Russian military delegation has arrived in Bishkek for talks after Kyrgyzstan said it wanted more money to host Russian military facilities, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The Russian delegation is headed by General Valery Gerasimov, deputy commander of the Armed Forces General Staff.

The Kyrgyz Defense Ministry press service said the delegation started talks with Kyrgyz military officials today. First Deputy Defense Minister General Asylbek Ormokoev is reportedly heading the Kyrgyz negotiating team.

On the agenda are Russian-Kyrgyz military cooperation and proposed amendments to bilateral agreements on leasing military facilities.

Kyrgyzstan said last week it wants a several-fold increase in the $4.5 million rent that Russia pays for leasing military facilities in Kyrgyzstan. The possibility of Russia providing armaments in partial payment of the lease is also under consideration.

The United States pays Kyrgyzstan $60 million per year for the lease of a military transit center at Manas airport, near Bishkek. Kyrgyzstan is the only country in the world that hosts both U.S. and Russian military bases.