Lavrov: Russia will discuss bases after Kyrgyz elections

21:55, September 16, 2010      

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Russia could not discuss its military presence in Kyrgyzstan until after the Central Asian nation's parliamentary elections in October, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday.

"Let's wait until the elections in Kyrgyzstan, until a new, permanent rather than interim, government is formed in the country," Lavrov told reporters after meeting with his Canadian counterpart Lawrence Cannon.

Earlier reports said Kyrgyz Defense Minister Abibulla Kudaiberdyev had asked Russia to sign an agreement on merging five Russian military bases into one, with a much higher base rent.

"We are ready to negotiate. It is important that Kyrgyzstan is also ready to do that," Lavrov said.

A memorandum was signed by Kyrgyz then-president Kurmanbek Bakiyev and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in August 2009. It stipulated opening of a Russian military training center and deployment of up to 500 additional soldiers in Kyrgyzstan. After Bakiyev was overthrown in April 2010, the deal was shelved.

Earlier Thursday, at the start of their bilateral talks, both Lavrov and Cannon said their meeting would probably focus on the Arctic issue.

Russia claims her sovereign rights on 1.2 million square kilometers of the Arctic seabed, which is rich with oil and gas deposits. The claim is planned to be forwarded to the U.N. by 2013.

According to the Itar-Tass news agency, on Wednesday Cannon also declared that Ottawa would voice additional claims for the Arctic shelf rights and submit them within two or three years.

At the joint press conference, Lavrov also touched upon issues including direct talks between Palestine and Israel, the prospect of a Moscow conference on the Middle East and settling the Iranian nuclear problem politically.

The Russian top diplomat, meanwhile, denied previous reports his country had already been invited to the NATO summit slated for November in Lisbon.

Source: Xinhua


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