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Rahmon Says Tajikistan Will Extend Russian's Military Presence To 2042


Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon in Moscow on August 1
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon in Moscow on August 1
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon said his country's parliament will ratify in the fall an agreement that extends Russia's military presence in Tajikistan until 2042.

Rahmon made the statement after an official meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Moscow.

"I'd like to say that we treat this issue [of the Russian military base] very seriously," Rahmon said, "and we are firmly committed to fulfilling our obligations. Now that we have solved a range of issues concerning the base, and as our parliament is returning from holiday, we will solve this issue by the fall of 2013."

Putin highlighted the significance of the military presence in Tajikistan.

"We paid special attention to the entry into force of an agreement extending the presence of Russia's military base on Tajik territory," Putin said. "I'd like to note that it is Russia's largest military land base outside our state border."

The bilateral agreement was signed in 2012, but the Tajik parliament has been delaying its ratification. Russia's State Duma approved the agreement in May.

Russia has more than 6,000 troops in Tajikistan. Russia's 201st Division has been stationed in Tajikistan since 1945.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the unit kept providing support for Russian border guards patrolling the 1,344-kilometer Tajik-Afghan frontier until Tajik troops took over the task in 2005.

There had been long-standing disputes between Dushanbe and Moscow over the amount of money Russia would pay for the lease of its military bases on Tajik soil.

The sides had eventually come to an agreement that Russia would instead allocate money to modernize Tajikistan's cash-strapped army.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said after the meeting between Putin and Rahmon that Moscow is promising $200 million for the modernization of the Tajik Army until 2025.

Rahmon said another topic high on the agenda was the situation of an estimated 1 million Tajiks workers in Russia.

"During our meeting, we paid special attention to the sensitive matter of labor migration," he said. "The continuing reform of legislation on this matter and constant improvement of the living and labor conditions of this category of our citizens are an invariable priority for us, and so this problem was one of the most important issues on our agenda."

Putin and Rahmon also reportedly discussed Russian participation in Tajikistan's energy projects as well as custom duties and energy price issues.

Russia is Tajikistan's largest trade partner and investor.

With reporting by ITAR-TASS and Interfax

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