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Putin: Russia's military base in Tajikistan to ensure security of border with Afghanistan

Russia and Tajikistan have agreed to employ the capabilities of the Russian 201st military base in Tajikistan to ensure the security of the Tajik-Afghan border, Russian President Vladimir Putin said following his meeting with Tajik leader Emomali Rahmon.

According to Putin, both Moscow and Dushanbe are concerned over the spread of terror groups, including the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia), in Afghanistan, as well as the growth in drug trafficking and the rise in crime. "In this connection, (Russia and Tajikistan) have agreed to boost joint efforts aimed at protecting the Tajik-Afghan border, particularly to employ the capabilities the Russian 201st military base in Tajikistan," the Russian president said.

The Russian leader also emphasized the importance of security and defense cooperation between the two countries.

"There is a Russian military base in Tajikistan. I would like to thank you for your attention to this sphere of our cooperation and for the assistance you have been providing to our base. I have no doubts that this is also an important factor of stability and security in the region, particularly in Tajikistan," Putin said.

He noted that Tajikistan was a friendly country that had been cooperating with Russia for many years. "Tajikistan has always been one of our most important allies and a strategic partner in every respect. We very much value our cooperation with Tajikistan and your personal activities aimed at maintaining regional stability," the Russian president said.

The sides noted the importance of coordinating the joint activity of law-enforcement bodies and security agencies, and also interaction in the military and military-technical spheres.

A joint statement says that the presidents of Russia and Tajikistan discussed the situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and noted the importance of assistance to that country in ensuring stability and further development.

Russia and Tajikistan stressed the significance of further implementation of the accords on cooperation in the military and military-technical spheres in the interests of effectively countering challenges and threats to national and regional security.

Following the negotiations between the leaders of Russia and Tajikistan, the sides confirmed their resolve to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the struggle against terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, illegal arms trade and other challenges and threats in the interests of ensuring national security and maintaining regional stability, the document says.

Both sides stressed the importance of preventing the spread of terrorist and extremist ideology, the financial, material and technical support of terrorism and terrorists' activity.

The sides confirmed their interest in developing practical interaction in the above-mentioned areas both at the political level and among law-enforcement agencies and special services, the document says.

Bilateral cooperation

Putin has expressed his readiness to consider the proposals made by his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon, aimed at boosting bilateral educational cooperation.

"You have been reiterating the humanitarian cooperation issues which I believe to be very important, particularly as far as education goes. We will surely discuss your proposal on further boosting activities in the education sphere, including higher and school education," Putin said before the expanded high-level talks.

He pointed out that 21,000 students from Tajikistan were receiving higher education in Russia, while the education of 10,000 Tajik students was financed by the Russian budget.

Putin mentioned bilateral trade and economic projects saying that the two countries were willing to further develop the projects.

Rahmon, in turn, said that Putin's official visit to Tajikistan was an important step in the development of bilateral relations. The Tajik president stated that it was a good opportunity to discuss the pressing issues related to bilateral cooperation and exchange views on the current regional and global issues. "We are interested in boosting strategic cooperation with Russia which a country close to us in all respects," Rahmon added.

Nuclear energy

Russia and Tajikistan have agreed to cooperate in the sphere of peaceful use of nuclear energy, according to a corresponding intergovernmental agreement.

The sides also signed agreements on cooperation in environment protection, in the area of military courier and postal communications, and in the area of labor, migration and employment.

Apart from that, the talks between the two leaders yielded a program of cooperation between Russia's and Tajikistan's foreign ministries, a memorandum of cooperation in the area of tourism, and a memorandum of cooperation in the area of physical culture and sports.

CIS free trade zone potential

Presidents of Russia and Tajikistan have agreed that it is important to boost integration processes, including through realizing the potential of the free trade zone within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), according to a joint statement signed by the two leaders on Monday following Putin's official visit to Dushanbe.

"The sides noted the importance of invigorating integrations processes in the region through complete realization of the potential of the free trade zone of the Commonwealth of Independent States," the document says.

Apart from that, the two presidents noted the necessity to expand bilateral cooperation between Russia and Tajikistan within the CIS and the Collective Security Treaty Organizations (CSTO).

The two presidents also announced their plans to cooperate on the international arena, first of all, within the United Nations, and "strengthen foreign policy coordination on topical issues of the regional and global agenda."

According to the statement, Russia and Tajikistan will continue efforts within the CIS to get this association of states adapted to the present-day realities. "The two heads of state reiterated their commitment to the principles of continuity bearing in mind Russia's chairmanship in the CIS in 2017 and Tajikistan's chairmanship in 2018," the document says.

Apart from that, Putin and Rakhmon agreed to promote cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

[Source: Itar Tass, Dushanbe, 27Feb17]

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