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MOSCOW, September 21 (Itar-Tass) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has visited Kyrgyzstan at the invitation of his counterpart Almazbek Atambayev. The Russian leader held talks on the results of which the sides signed an agreement under which Russian troops will stay in Kyrgyzstan at least for another 20 years. In addition, the issues of the settlement of Kyrgyzstan’s debt to Russia worth almost half a billion dollars was settled.
The Novye Izvestia daily writes that according to Putin, Russia’s military bases will ensure stability in Central Asia after the NATO forces’ withdrawal from Afghanistan. “I would like to reiterate that our military presence began with in Kyrgyzstan’s request for setting up such a base here that would be an important factor of stability in the region and in the republic itself. So that all those who want to destabilise the situation in the region knew that there are the necessary forces that could be used in the fight against extremism, drug trafficking and terrorists,” Putin said after talks with his Kyrgyz counterpart Almazbek Atambayev.
The Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper reports that Atambayev called Russia a key strategic partner. He believes it is symbolic that Putin arrived in the country on the anniversary of the signing of the bilateral Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation, and hopes that this will mark a new stage in the relationship. “Finally, we have signed many agreements that we have been waiting for years, decades,” said Atambayev. The agreement on the status and conditions of the stay of the Russian united military base in Kyrgyzstan, according to the newspaper, is signed for 15 years with a possible extension for 5 years. It will take effect in 2017.
The Moskovsky Komsomolets daily writes that Atambayev announced that the US military base at Manas will be closed after the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. However, there have been rumours that if the United States increases the payment, the lease term will be extended. The newspaper also reports that during the visit of Mr Putin the sides signed documents on the settlement of the republic’s debts to Russia. RF Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak, who was present at the talks explained that the first debt of 190 million US dollars “was associated with the provision of technical loans in the 1990s.” “This debt is to be written off completely,” the official said.
The Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper writes that the parties also reached agreements on the launch of the joint work for the construction of the Kambarata-1 hydropower plant in Kyrgyzstan with the participation of INTER RAO UES, as well as the Verkhne-Narynsky (Upper Naryn) hydropower plants’ cascade with the participation of the JSC RusHydro. RF Energy Minister Alexander Novak specified the cost of the power plants. “The Verkhne-Narynsky cascade project involves the construction of four hydroelectric power stations with the cost of about 400 million US dollars. Both sides will participate in the project on a fifty-fifty basis,” Novak said. “The further operation of the HPP will also be conducted on a parity basis. As for the Kambarata HPP - its capacity has not yet been approved - the cost varies from 2 to 4 billion dollars.”