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U.S. bases should stay in Central Asia - Bordyuzha


NEW YORK, July 27 (RIA Novosti, Andrei Loshchilin) - Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan) Nikolai Bordyuzha urged to avoid making "hasty decisions" in relation to the withdrawal of U.S. military bases from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

"The U.S. bases in Central Asia play an important role in the region, providing air support for the international contingent deployed in Afghanistan," Bordyuzha told RIA Novosti. He was in New York, attending the UN Partnership with regional organizations in the interest of security and peace meeting.

"Let us assume that these bases will be closed soon," Bordyuzha said. "What is next, then? The contingent in Afghanistan remains and the operation continues. We should not forget that the Taliban movement has restored its organizational structure, replenished its ranks, and is ready for combat again."

Bordyuzha said the issue of base closure should be raised "after the situation in Afghanistan has stabilized."

"We certainly have to determine the length of their presence in the region and establish their status as temporary while the active phase of the counterterrorist operation continues," the CSTO Secretary General said.

Speaking about the events in Kyrgyzstan this spring, he said the CSTO learned important lessons. "We should respond more actively to the deterioration of the political situation in a CSTO member-country," Bordyuzha said.

"We must use preventive diplomacy and play the role of an intermediary in order to prevent the transformation of a political struggle into public disturbances, including acts of violence and looting, as it occurred in Kyrgyzstan," he said.

During his visit to Bishkek and Dushanbe, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the United States has no intention to withdraw its bases from Central Asia in the near future.

He said the U.S. had deployed its bases according to bilateral agreements and on mutually beneficial conditions. In particular, Kyrgyzstan receives up to $15 million for allowing the U.S. to use the Manas international airport in the Kyrgyz capital. About a thousand U.S. troops are deployed there at present. The issue of the U.S. military bases arose during the recent Astana summit of the Shanghai Organization for Cooperation (SOC), where the participants, at the behest of Russian President Vladimir Putin, adopted a declaration advocating that deadlines be set for the withdrawal of U.S. military bases from Central Asia.

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