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Talks On Russian Military Presence In Tajikistan Continue

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon (right) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Dushanbe on April 24
DUSHANBE -- Russia and Tajikistan are continuing talks over the future of Russian troops in Tajikistan.

No progress was announced following talks this week in Dushanbe between visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the Tajik leadership.

Both sides said discussions were being accelerated.

An official Tajik government source told RFE/RL that the Tajik administration wants Russian troops to remain on Tajik soil for only five to seven years after the current lease on their base expires in 2014.

The source says Dushanbe also wants Moscow to pay millions of dollars of overdue lease fees.

The Kremlin, for its part, reportedly wants the lease for its 201st Motorized Rifle Division extended by 49 years.

The division has 7,500 servicemen based near Dushanbe and in the southern cities of Kulob and Qurghon-Teppa.