Tajikistan seeks 'review' of Russia base accord: report

Tajikistan is pushing for a "review" of agreements allowing Russia to base troops in the strategic Central Asian state bordering Afghanistan, a Russian newspaper reported on Friday.
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Updated on Feb 20, 2009 03:07 PM IST
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AFP | By, Moscow

Tajikistan is pushing for a "review" of agreements allowing Russia to base troops in the strategic Central Asian state bordering Afghanistan, a Russian newspaper reported on Friday.

Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon "is attempting to get review or refinement of most of its important agreements with Moscow" and will push this line when he visits Moscow on Tuesday, the daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta said.

"One of these concerns terms for the presence of a Russian military base in Tajikistan," the daily added, without citing the source of its information.

The report was published the same day Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev signed into law that country's decision to close a key US airbase that has served as a vital supply base for troops in Afghanistan.

It also coincided with the announcement in Dushanbe by a senior US military official that Washington had secured approval from Tajikistan for transit through its territory of non-lethal supplies for US forces in Afghanistan.

"The example set by Kyrgyzstan, which managed not just to get payment for the Russian 'Kant' air base but also other preferences from Russia, turned out to be contagious for Dushanbe," Nezavisimaya Gazeta commented.

Tajikistan, long the poorest of the ex-Soviet republics, has been swamped in recent months by the effects of the global economic crisis.

The country is also desperate to find new sources of income as tens of thousands of Tajik workers who formed the backbone of the construction labor force in Russia during the boom of recent years return home jobless.

US President Barack Obama this week authorized deployment of an additional 17,000 US troops to Afghanistan and has identified US efforts to counter a resurgence by Taliban forces in that country as a top priority.

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