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Russian Deputy PM To Discuss Troop Presence In Tajikistan

Russian Deputy Prime Minster Igor Shuvalov (file photo)
Russian Deputy Prime Minster Igor Shuvalov (file photo)
DUSHANBE -- Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has arrived in Dushanbe to discuss issues with Tajik officials including a possible extension of a troop deployment in Tajikistan beyond 2014.

Shuvalov's visit follows the visit of Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov to the Tajik capital last week.

Tajikistan and Russia have been negotiating the issue of the presence of Russia's 201st Motorized Rifle Division for some time now.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in April that the lease for the three Russian-controlled garrisons in Tajikistan, which shares a poorly secured border with Afghanistan, would be extended by 49 years.

Russia'a 201st Division and its approximately 7,500 troops use a total of three Tajik bases near Dushanbe and in the southern cities of Kulob and Qurghon-Teppa.

It is the largest deployment of Russian troops abroad.

The Russian delegation was also expected to discuss preparations for a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Dushanbe by the end of this year.

Based on reporting by Interfax and RFE/RL's Tajik Service

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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