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03:53 GMT +3 hours23 December 2014
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Russia and Kyrgyzstan Sign Base, Debt and Power Deals

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Russia and Kyrgyzstan signed a series of deals on Thursday including an agreement on maintaining Russian military bases in the Central Asian state, following a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia and Kyrgyzstan signed a series of deals on Thursday including an agreement on maintaining Russian military bases in the Central Asian state, following a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The 15-year base agreement, signed by the two nations' leaders, will come into effect in 2017 with a possible five-year extension. The agreement sets out what Russia will pay for renting the base, which has not been disclosed.

A dispute flared between Moscow and Bishkek earlier this year over rental fees for Russia's four military bases in Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz Defense Minister in July warned that Bishkek would demand higher rental fees.

Earlier this year, Kyrgyzstan said it would close the U.S. base at Kansk, near Bishkek, after U.S. forces leave nieghboring Afghanistan in 2014. President Putin stressed Russia's commitment to working with Kyrgyzstan to develop Manas airport, once U.S. forces leave.

The two sides also signed a deal on the settlement of Kyrgyzstan's debt to Russia, totaling $489 million. A $189 million loan Kyrgyzstan owed Russia from 2005 will be written off, while a $300 million loan from 2009 will also be written off in two tranches in ten years, starting from 2016.

Moscow and Bishkek also signed an agreement on the construction and operation of the Kambaratinsky hydro-electric power station and Verkhnye-Narynsky dam. Once operational, the Kambaratinsky power plant will give Kyrgyzstan 5 billion kW of power a year, meeting the country's growing energy demand.

An outline agreement on joint construction of the Kambaratinsky plant was signed in 2009 during Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev's visit to Moscow, including a loan of $1.7 billion to Bishkek from Moscow to meet building costs. A joint venture was set up to build the plant, half of which is owned by Russia's Inter RAO power generation company, but the deal stalled.