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DUSHANBE, April 24 (Itar-Tass) – Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is holding talks with the political leadership of Tajikistan on bilateral cooperation in the format of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization /CSTO/, as well as on the situation in neighboring Afghanistan.
Lavrov’s official visit to this country is timed for the 20th anniversary since the establishment of official diplomatic relations between Moscow and Dushanbe.
The scope of officials he is expected to have meetings with in Dushanbe includes President Emomali Rahmon and Foreign Minister Hamrohon Zarifi. Their discussions will hopefully embrace various aspects of bilateral cooperation in the political, economic and humanitarian spheres and the pressing aspects of cooperative efforts in the framework of the CIS, CSTO, Eurasian Economic Community /Eurasec/ and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization /SCO/.
Russian government officials are confident Lavrov’s talks in Tajikistan “will make a considerable contribution to the Russian-Tajikistani strategic partnership,” a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Moscow told Itar-Tass.
“Our ties stand in line with the interests of our peoples and consolidate bilateral strategic partnership,” the spokesman went on. “Lying at the foundation of this relationship is the blood that the Russian and Tajik soldiers spilt on the battlefields of World War II, close historical, cultural and humanitarian relations, and the age-old traditions of friendship and mutual assistance,” he said.
The spokesman said that regular supplies of Russian relief cargos to the population of Tajikistan who recently suffered from the aftereffects of natural calamities.
Russia and Tajikistan cooperate within the format of the UN, CIS and OSCE. The Collective Rapid Deployment task force of the latter includes units of Russia’s military base No. 201 located in Tajikistan.
The two countries take joint steps towards curbing the traffic of drugs. Illegal migration, and organized crime.
“Both sides share the vision of major threats and challenges to regional security in Central Asia,” the spokesman said adding that they also have identical assessments of the situation in Afghanistan.
In this connection, officials in Dushanbe voiced profound concern Monday over the problems with security that Tajikistan will face after the withdrawal of the NATO contingent from there in 2014.
Moscow has said more than once it does not accept any artificially conceived deadlines for the withdrawal of troops.
“We’re gravely concerned by what turn the events in Afghanistan may take after the pullout of the international peacekeeping contingent from there,” Lavrov said at a conference with NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.
“The withdrawal should be synchronized with the process of ensuring the capability of the Afghan security forces to control the situation at home and to counteract the extremist groupings and drugs producers,” he said.