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General Says U.S. Not In Central Asia To Show Power

Astana, 3 November (RFE/RL) -- The top U.S. military commander in the Persian Gulf region, General John Abizaid, has said the U.S. military presence in Central Asia should not be viewed as a demonstration of the country's military dominance, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported.

"The presence of the United States' armed forces in this region is not, in any way, for domination or for what I would call 18th-century power politics," Abizaid said. "We have a sincere desire to be in the region to attack the problems of terrorism, the narcotics trade, and corruption because these are problems that are international, not the problems of a single state."

Abizaid spoke today in Astana after talks with Defense Minister Mukhtar Altynbaev.

He reiterated that Washington has no intention of establishing a military base in Kazakhstan unless a tense situation emerges in Central Asia and the Kazakh government requests the U.S. military to do so.

He also praised Kazakhstan's efforts to reform its military

(with Interfax/AFP/ITAR-TASS)

Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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