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RUSSIAN, AMERICAN BASES GETTING ON IN KYRGYZSTAN

RIA Novosti

DUSHANBE, April 6 (RIA Novosti) - The command-and-staff exercise Rubezh-2005 has nothing to do with revolutions, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov has said.

"The scenario of the exercise is real and non-invented, minding the proximity of the border", Sergei Ivanov told journalists after the exercise, which involved members of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan).

"The exercise is unrelated to the domestic setup in any CSTO member", he added.

To him, about 3,000 men, hundreds of armored cars and aviation are involved in today's exercise.

The defense minister has also said: "The military are doing their own business, combat training, thus promoting stabilization in the region".

The two military bases in Kyrgyzstan, American and Russian, do not stand in each other's way. More so that they have different goals, Sergei Ivanov believes.

To him, the United States' base Manas (international airport of the Kyrgyz capital) was set up and operates for the period of the counterterrorist operation in Afghanistan. The Russian base Kant, 30 kilometers east of Bishkek, was opened to beef up security of the CSTO members, Sergei Ivanov said.

Its efficiency is proved by the exercise. "Part of the planes have today flown from Kant, performed their combat missions and made a non-stop return", the Russian defense minister said. "I think it is convenient".

The Russian military base in Tajikistan, set up within the unit's lines of the 201 motor rifle division, will be further developed, he said.

"In recent years the force performance of the Tajik army has noticeably improved, also with Russian help", Sergei Ivaniov said. The higher the combat readiness of the Tajik army the better for Russia, he noted.

In his opinion, the withdrawal of Russian border guards from Tajikistan will not tell on situation in that Central Asian republic.

"I don't thinkanything here will change in principle. More so that our border guards are not withdrawing in full: an operative group remains here", the Russian minister said.

Russia will continue giving military-technical assistance to the Tajik Defense Ministry, he said. "We'll provide considerable military assistance to Tajikistan already this year", Sergei Ivanov said.

Russia does not plan any military presence in Afghanistan. To quote: "We are not planning whatever military presence in Afghanistan". Security in the region as regards opposing threats from outside has increased in recent years, he said.

Sergei Ivanov recalled a big band of terrorists penetrating Kyrgyzstan several years ago. "No collective rapid deployment force was in existence then", Sergei Ivanov noted. Today it exists and operates, doing combat training, the Russian defense minister added.

The winding-up active phase of the CSTO counterterrorist exercise Rubezh-2005 took place near the Tajik-Afghan border in bad weather conditions.

The tempest cancelled the scheduled landing of the Kazakh force from helicopters, which could crash during strong wind gusts.

Observers of the exercise on the command point were - Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, CSTO head Nikolai Bordyuzha, Tajik Prime Minister Akil Akilov, the defense ministers of other participants in the exercise. Also, they were Western observers, including from France and the United States.



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