Thursday, July 12, 2012 -
Tajikistan is pressing Russia to hand over more than $250 million a year for use of military bases on its territory, Russian newspaper Kommersant quoted an unidentified Tajik source as saying on Wednesday.
Russian media outlet Kommersant reported the source, who the paper identifies as being close to the negotiations, as saying that Tajikistan inserted 20 provisions into a new draft agreement on extension of a lease on the bases that are “vague and unacceptable for Russia.”
A Russian source insists that the Russian presence at the base is not just in the interest of Russia, but for all member states of the regional security alliance Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), of which Tajikistan is a member.
The two sides were originally to have completed negotiations on the military presence in Tajikistan before the end of March 2012.
A Russian military general said earlier this month that the Dushanbe government without prior warning added more than 20 terms to the agreement they were negotiating.
The Russian Ground Forces commander, Vladimir Chirkin, described the talks as tough, the Tajik negotiators as stubborn, and the new terms unacceptable to Moscow.
Under the current lease, which expires in 2014, Russia has exclusive rights to use three military garrisons and joint use of an air base. In return, Moscow provides military and technical assistance to Tajikistan’s military.
Around 7,000 Russian troops are deployed in the Central Asian state, which borders war-torn Afghanistan, source of more than 90 percent of the world’s opium as well as weapons and militant extremism.