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DUSHANBE, October 1 (Itar-Tass) - The lower chamber of Tajikistan's parliament on Tuesday unanimously supported the ratification of the inter-state agreement with Russia on terms and timeframe of the presence of Russia's 201st military base in the republic's territory. The document was presented by Tajik Defense Minister Sherali Khairulloyev.
"I believe the presence of the Russian military base in the territory of our country is timely and important, as the guarantor of security of Tajikistan and southern borders of the Commonwealth /of Independent States/, the minister underlined. He reminded that the agreement provided for considerable assistance to Tajikistan in strengthening its army and counteracting threats from outside. The sum of this assistance has exceeded 411 million dollars since 2005, he added. Russia will also help Tajikistan train military personnel and repair military equipment.
Also, the presence of the Russian military base meets the spirit of strategic partnership between the two countries and aimed at ensuring stability in the region, the minister went on.
"A large Russian land formation will eliminate possible external threats, including on the Tajik Afghan border," Khairulloyev said. The agreement envisions the presence of the base until 2042.
Saifullo Safarov, deputy director of the Center for Strategic Studies under the Tajik president, said "today, the parliament has approved a very important document, which is expected to contribute to the strengthening of Tajik-Russian strategic partnership."
"The presence of the Russian military base in Tajikistan as a structural unit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization is an important element of security of Tajikistan, its borders and the region in general," Safarov said.
Russia set up its 201st military base in 2004. The Gatchino motorized infantry division established in 1943 makes its backbone. During the Civil War in Tajikistan /1991-1997/, Russian servicemen took part in peacekeeping operations. At present, the base has up to 7,000 troops deployed in Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe and the towns of Kulyabe and Kurgan-tyube.