Moscow must make concessions to Dushanbe to use military base in Tajikistan

Moscow must make concessions to Dushanbe to use military base in Tajikistan

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 14 / Trend , V.Zhavoronkova / For the activity of the Russian Ayni airbase in Tajikistan, Moscow must either provide funds for the construction of hydropower plants on the territory of Central Asian states, or begin paying rent and other expenses for location of the Russian air groups in its territory, says a European expert on Central Asia, Yuri Fedorov.

Russia claims the use of Ayni airbase in Tajikistan, which is important for Moscow from the point of view of the interests of the country in Central Asia. However, the sides have some differences - Russia tries to obtain this facility free of charge, and the Tajik government does not agree with this. The press even reported that Dushanbe proposed anti-terrorist coalition forces to use the base for operations in Afghanistan.

However, according to the expert, the talk about the possible use of NATO forces is a provocation in the media.

"Judging by the reaction of the U.S., they do not have real plans to establish a base in Ayni," Fedorov, Research Fellow of Chatham House Royal Institute of International Affairs Russian and Eurasian Program, told Trend via e-mail.

However, the use of Aini by Russia remains valid.

"Dushanbe requires Russia to fulfill its promise to allocate huge funds for the construction of hydropower plants, including Rogun, which ultimately damage Russia's relations with Uzbekistan, which are now in a very wretched condition, or to pay rent and other expenses on placement of the Russian air groups in Ayni," Fedorov said.

Uzbekistan opposes against the construction of hydropower plants in the neighbor states - Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, because of water lack in the country. Tashkent is afraid that due to the construction of hydropower stations on the rivers of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the volume of water that falls in Uzbekistan will diminish and it will greatly affect the agriculture.

He said that Russia will somehow find funds to pay for its aviation presence in Tajikistan, since without air support, Russian 201st base troops' fighting efficiency is low.
The current U.S. administration is considering Central Asia, primarily as a "strategic back" of operations in Afghanistan, through which one of the canals of supply of the international coalition forces operating in the country passes, said Fedorov.

"For America, this region is more important than the situation becomes more complicated in the so-called zone of tribes located in the adjacent border regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan," said the expert.

In economic terms, the U.S. is interested in ensuring that oil from Kazakhstan and gas from Turkmenistan go to the European markets, bypassing Russian territory.

"The U.S. does not have other serious interests in the region, but as soon as the United States finds it possible to withdraw from Afghanistan, though now such a prospect is not considered, Washington's interest in Central Asia will minimize," said Fedorov.

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