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    PUTIN HIGHLY ASSESSES RUSSIAN-TAJIK RELATIONS

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    DUSHANBE, October 16 (RIA Novosti's Lidia Isamova) - Opening Russian-Tajik extended talks in Dushanbe, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about positive dynamics and good prospects of bilateral relations.

    "We have managed to solve the problem of Tajikistan's debt to Russia. Moreover, the Russian military base began working," the Russian leader said.

    According to him, military-political sphere is a key aspect of our relations. "Today we shall sign a complete package of documents on the status of the Russian military base in the Republic of Tajikistan," Mr. Putin noted.

    On his part, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov reported that Russia and Tajikistan would sign four military agreements on Saturday.

    "We are satisfied with the land plot allocated for the base. This will be Russia's largest base abroad, with 20,000 servicemen," the minister added.

    All threats will be taken into account while handing the border sector guarded by Russians to Tajik border guards, said Viktor Cherkesov, head of the federal service for control over trafficking of drugs and psychotropic substances.

    "We shall work out new approaches to close the subject," Mr. Cherkesov continued. "The security tactics is changing dependent on the situation," he noted.

    "Tajikistan is Russia's main partner in the fight against drug trafficking from Afghanistan," he stressed. "Today's decision [the agreement on cooperation in the fight against illegal drug trafficking] will boost this activity both in Central Asia and Russia," he went on.

    Tajikistan welcomes Russia's investments and will create favorable conditions for them, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov said opening the extended session of Tajik-Russian governmental groups.

    "We assign priority to Russian partners, however, the interests of foreign investors in Tajikistan keeps growing," he noted.

    "To increase the role of Russian in Tajikistan we have introduced compulsory studies of this language," the head of state emphasized.

    "The recent terrorist acts in Russia, above all, the tragedy in Beslan have shown the danger of terrorism. We are ready to join all efforts to prevent terrorist acts and to punish those who performs them," Mr. Rakhmonov said.

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