Military base talks stall as Moscow seeks to appease Central Asian allies: expert

Military base talks stall as Moscow seeks to appease Central Asian allies: expert

Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 6 / Trend V. Zhavoronkova /

Delayed talks on stationing a Russian military base in Kyrgyzstan are due to Moscow's efforts to maintain equally good relations with both Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, Senior Fellow at the Institute of International Studies Leonid Gusev told Trend today.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev agreed to place the base in southern Kyrgyzstan in early August to be operated under the auspices of the Moscow Collective Security Treaty Organization.

The final agreement on the issue was to be signed by the parties by Nov. 1. However, the parties have not yet fully agreed on conditions to locate the base on Kyrgyz territory.

"As to Russia, it is important for it to maintain good relations with Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan ... I think there are delays in the negotiations on this issue," Gusev wrote Trend in an e-mail.

Uzbekistan expressed its dissatisfaction on this matter immediately after the announcement of a possible deployment of a Russian base in Kyrgyzstan. Official Tashkent explained its position by stating that the base may serve as an impetus for nationalist clashes.

Gusev said the Kyrgyz leadership insists that the Russian military base be located near the Uzbek border.

The expert added that Kyrgyz Ambassador to Russia Raimkul Attakurov's statements are interesting. He said the border is the root of all evil.

Gusev said it must be noted that Uzbekistan inherited powerful armed forces from the Soviet Union, contrary to other Central Asian nations. The establishment of a second Russian military base in Kyrgyzstan close to its borders would automatically strengthen the Kyrgyz militarily.

"Many experts, like me, follow the opinion that the Kyrgyz leadership wants to protect itself with a new base in the case of a conflict with Uzbekistan," Gusev said.

The relations between the two Central Asian countries are aggravated by water problems in the region.

As for Russia, the country must maintain sound relations with Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, as well as all other Central Asian countries. Moscow would lose out by aggravating relations with any of these countries, Gusev said.

"Kyrgyzstan wants to use Russia for its disputes with Uzbekistan. Russian leaders are sure to oppose such a move," the expert said.

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