Tajikistan agrees Russian base deal to curb militant threat – Yahoo! News

Posted: October 6, 2012 in Tajikistan

DUSHANBE (Reuters) – Russia has negotiated a deal to extend its lease on a military base in Tajikistan for more than 20 years in exchange for discounted weaponry and training for the Central Asian state’s armed forces, two sources close to the talks said on Friday.

The lease extension will end recriminations over a delayed deal to reinforce Russia’s military presence on the southern fringes of the former Soviet Union before NATO troops begin withdrawing from next-door Afghanistan in 2014.

More than 6,000 Russian soldiers are stationed across three towns in Tajikistan, an impoverished former Soviet republic with an economy heavily reliant on money sent home by around 1 million migrant workers in Russia.

The 201st base is Russia’s largest troop deployment abroad and is viewed by the Kremlin as a bulwark against the potential spillover of Islamist militancy into a region it still regards as its sphere of influence.

The current 10-year lease on the base is due to expire on January 1, 2014.

A high-ranking source in Tajikistan’s government, who took part in the negotiations, told Reuters that an extension of between 20 and 29 years had been agreed. A Russian diplomatic source said a period of 29 years had been agreed in principle.

“This could move a little, plus or minus five to seven years, but no more,” the Russian source said. Both sources spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of talks.

via Tajikistan agrees Russian base deal to curb militant threat – Yahoo! News.

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