Russian lawmakers ratify military accord with two ex-Soviet republic

Russian lawmakers ratify military accord with two ex-Soviet republics

The Associated Press
02/18/05 08:12 EST

MOSCOW (AP) – Russia’s lower house of parliament on Friday ratified
security accords with two former Soviet republics in Central Asia
aimed at deepening cooperation between their militaries.

The State Duma unanimously approved the agreement with Kyrgyzstan,
which allows both militaries to use each other’s military and civilian

It also stipulates that the countries consult one another before
deciding whether to allow troops from a nation that is not a signatory
to a post-Soviet security treaty to deploy in their territories. The
Russia-dominated Collective Security Treaty unites several ex-Soviet
republics, including Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Belarus and Armenia.

Kyrgyzstan is already host to a U.S.-led coalition air base at the
country’s main airport just outside the capital, Bishkek, and Russia
didn’t object to the deployment in 2001. The base supports combat
operations in nearby Afghanistan.

The Central Asian country also holds a Russian air base, established
in 2003 as the U.S. military was bolstering its presence in the
region. The Kremlin views Central Asia as its traditional sphere
of influence.

The Kyrgyz foreign minister said earlier this week that his government
had turned down a U.S. request to deploy AWACS radar planes in the
country after consultations with regional allies, including Russia
and China. U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Stephen Young denied that
Washington ever sought permission to use the planes in Kyrgyzstan,
according to a transcript of his remarks released by the U.S. Embassy
on Friday.

The Russian-Kyrgyz accord, signed by the leaders of both nations in
2002, is an effort to “enhance peace, increase stability and security
in Central Asia and in the world as a whole,” the document said. The
agreement will be effective for 10 years.

Russian lawmakers also approved a five-year military accord signed
with Kazakhstan last year that will allow for joint military planning
“in the use of troops at times of peace and war.” That accord was
approved in a 415-1 vote.