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U.S. Envoy: Tajik Base Not Alternative To Manas

Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher in Dushanbe
Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher in Dushanbe
DUSHANBE -- U.S. Assistant Secretary Of State Richard Boucher said in Dushanbe that a new agreement for a U.S. base in Tajikistan is not an "alternate" to the U.S. air base in Kyrgyzstan that it must vacate.

Boucher met with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi, and three opposition party officials during his two-day trip.

Because the United States does "a lot of different things through the base on Manas," Boucher said, "it is not just a matter of picking it up [in Kyrgyzstan] and putting it over there [in Tajikistan]."

He also said that the United States has six months to discuss Manas's closure with the Kyrgyz authorities, after which Washington will decide what to do.

Rahmatillo Zoirov, head of Tajikistan's Social Democratic Party, told RFE/RL's Tajik Service that he and Boucher also discussed election-law reforms.

Boucher said that his government will continue to develop ties with Tajikistan.

But he added that the results of an audit of Tajikistan's National Bank showed huge shortcomings that could negatively impact private investment.