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MOSCOW, December 7. /TASS/. The preparations for signing an agreement on Russia’s Tartus naval base in Syria are at the final stage, Chairman of the Federation Council Committee for Defense and Security Viktor Ozerov said on Wednesday.
"At the final stage, as far as I know," the senator said in reply to a question from TASS about the stage of preparing the agreement on the Tartus facility.
As for the timeframe of the deal’s ratification by the parliament, the senator said that "this issue will be submitted either by the president or the government of Russia."
"If this is done by the government, it [the agreement] should pass through a government meeting. They will determine who will be the Russian government’s official representative," the senator said, explaining the procedure of making such decisions.
"If this will be [according to the procedure] like an agreement on the airbase [Russia’s air base in Syria] [ratified by the Russian parliament], then, possibly, it will be submitted by the Russian president. When the agreement is submitted to the presidential administration and all the necessary legal and technical procedures are held, this [submission to the State Duma for ratification] will be formalized by the president’s decree and it will be indicated who will be the Russian president’s official representative," the senator said, adding, however, he did not know when this would happen.
In early October, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said that Russia planned to operate a permanent naval base at Tartus in Syria. According to him, the documents have been prepared and are undergoing the procedures of inter-departmental approval.
Russia currently has a ship maintenance center at Tartus. Also, Russia’s air task force is based at the Hmeymim airbase in the province of Latakia in Syria.