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Kyrgyz President Visits Russia

Kyrgyzstan's President Almazbek Atambaev says he will press Russian leaders for unpaid fees for Russian military facilities on Kyrgyz soil.
Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambaev arrives in Moscow today on a three-day working visit.

Strengthening ties, especially in business, is expected to top the agenda during the Kyrgyz leader's visit.

Kyrgyz officials say they'd like to see bilateral trade -- amounting to $1.7 billion in 2011 -- increase, with Russian firms playing a greater role in Kyrgyzstan's mining and energy sectors.

Ahead of the visit, Atambaev said he would press Russian leaders on unpaid fees for the use of Russian military facilities on Kyrgyz soil.

Kyrgyzstan hosts a Russian long-distance communication center, a torpedo testing base at Lake Issyk-Kul, and a seismological station in the southern Jalal-Abad region.

Kyrgyzstan also hosts U.S. military facilities at the Manas airport near Bishkek, for which Washington pays rent.

Atambaev reportedly had an informal meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on February 23 and met with Kyrgyz diaspora leaders in Moscow.
With Interfax and Itar-tass reporting