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Kyrgyzstan interested in Russia's naval presence-chief of staff

31.05.2008 Source: en.rian.ru

Kyrgyzstan is interested in the continued presence of Russian naval forces on its territory, the country's top military official said on Friday.

Maj. Gen. Boris Yugai, chief of the General Staff of the Kyrgyz Armed Forces, met with Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky, commander of the Russian Navy, who is currently on a visit to Kyrgyzstan to discuss the expansion of military-technical cooperation and strengthening of regional security with Kyrgyz top military officials.

"No one would benefit from a scaling down of military-technical cooperation between Russian and Kyrgyz defense agencies," Gen. Yugai said, adding that his country is interested in the "further development of Russia and its Armed Forces."

Adm. Vysotsky said the Russian Navy has $4 million worth of contracts with Kyrgyz enterprises for the production of torpedoes, equipment, and components, but not ammunition.

He visited Thursday a naval research facility Russia rents on a lake in Kyrgyzstan.

The testing site near the city of Karakol, 380 km (240 miles) from the capital Bishkek, was set up during the Soviet era and is still used to test advanced torpedo propulsion and guidance systems for the Russian Navy.

It has reportedly provided both a test bed and production facilities for one of Russia's most advanced naval weapon systems, the super-cavitating 220 mph Squall or Shkval rocket-propelled torpedo, with a range of six nautical miles, designed to destroy large surface ships such as aircraft carriers.

Russia currently pays $4.5 million annually to use these military installations.

On March 18, the Kyrgyz parliamentary committee for security approved a resolution on the ratification of protocols between Kyrgyzstan and Russia on the use of Russian military facilities in the country and the status of Russian service personnel in the Republic of Kyrgyzstan.

The agreement, concluded by Kyrgyzstan and Russia in 1997, allows the Russian military to use Kyrgyz territory for the next 15 years.

Russia currently has 41 intergovernmental agreements with Kyrgyzstan on security cooperation. Both countries are members of the two major regional security blocs in Central Asia - the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

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