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    RUSSIAN ARMY BASE IN TAJIKISTAN TO GET LEGAL STATUS DURING PUTIN'S VISIT

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    MOSCOW, October 16 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian military base in Tajikistan will receive a legal status while President Vladimir Putin is on visit to that country, Sergei Prikhodko, presidential aide, said to the media.

    Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Emomali Rakhmonov of Tajikistan will exchange ratification instruments for a bilateral treaty on the status and conditions of a Russian military base in Tajikistan. Another package of treaties for signing will specify on the terms of Russian military presence in that country, which will thus receive an international legal basis up to the latest standards.

    Mr. Prikhodko highlighted another essential bilateral instrument-an agreement on which the Nurek space-monitoring optic electronic center passes into Russian possession. Tajikistan is thus paying in kind a part of its debt to Russia ahead of schedule. Another part will be invested in Santuda hydroelectric plant construction.

    With another upcoming agreement, Russia is passing the Pamir stretch of the Tajik-Afghan frontier under Tajik guard. Russian border guards will leave the area before this year's end. "The signing on this treaty does not mean Russia is quitting the Tajik-Afghan frontier for good," pointed out Sergei Prikhodko.

    "As any other sovereign country, Tajikistan has the right to guard its own frontier single-handed. It expects to cope, and keep drug traffic in control if the United Nations anti-drug bureau and Russian frontier soldiers give a hand." Russia will set up an ad hoc team to help Tajik colleagues against drug traffickers, added President Putin's aide.

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