Kyrgyzstan wants Russian arms in exchange for military base - paper
Kyrgyzstan has proposed Russia to pay in kind with arms for a new military base intended to unite all Russian military facilities in the Central Asian state, Russian business daily Kommersant said on Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported.
The proposal came during a meeting between Kyrgyz Defense Minister Abibulla Kudaiberdiyev and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov in Moscow on Monday, Kommersant said.
Kudaiberdiyev also reportedly called on Moscow to sign an agreement to unite Russia's five military facilities in Kyrgyzstan as soon as possible.
A major facility is a military base in Kant, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) outside the capital, Bishkek. Besides, Russia has a naval training base and a torpedo development enterprise at Lake Issyk-Kul, as well as two seismic facilities in the Issyk-Kul and Jalalabad regions used for monitoring nuclear tests in the world.
Moscow and Bishkek have discussed the issue of creating a United Russian Military Base in Kyrgyzstan during Kurmanbek Bakiyev's presidency. Bakiyev was overthrown amid large-scale opposition protests in April and fled the country.
A relevant memorandum was signed by Bakiyev and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in August 2009. It stipulated the opening of a Russian training center for Russian and Kyrgyz soldiers and the deployment of up to 500 additional soldiers in the Central Asian republic.
An agreement on the issue should have been drawn up by November 2009. However, the Russian and Kyrgyz authorities were reluctant to prepare the document. The deal was shelved after April's coup in the republic.
Neither the Russian, nor the Kyrgyz foreign ministry has commented on the report by Kommersant.
The United States also has a facility in Kyrgyzstan, previously a military base and now a transit center for supplying troops in Afghanistan.