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Russia concerned by U.S. military plans in central Asia, Afghanistan


09:01, November 18, 2011

MOSCOW, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Russia was concerned by U.S. plans to expand its military presence in central Asia and to set up large military bases in Afghanistan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday.

"It is still unclear how the (U.S.) troops' withdrawal scheduled in 2014 after the end of anti-terrorism operations corresponds to the U.S. plans to set up in Afghanistan quite big military bases," Lavrov told reporters after his talks with visiting Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna here.

Lavrov said Moscow had discussed the issue with Afghan and U.S. representatives, but "there are more questions than answers so far."

"Moreover, information comes in periodically that our American colleagues want to expand their military presence in central Asia," he said.

Lavrov said, from the start of the operations against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Russia was told that the foreign presence in Afghanistan and its transit centers in central Asia would be used purely to fight that particular terrorism threat.

"Russia was told there were no long-term geopolitical calculations," Lavrov said, adding these principals should be respected in full.

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