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    U.S. will withdraw troops from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan at republics' request: expert

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    MOSCOW, July 6 (RIA Novosti) - The United States could withdraw its military bases from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan at the request of these republics rather then the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO asks.

    "The SCO's demands for the Americans to set the deadline for their troops' withdrawal from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan obviously reveals a clash between the organization and American interests," said Konstantin Zatulin, the chairman of the CIS affairs committee of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament.

    According to Zatulin, the SCO unites five Eurasian states and China, and the demand above all showed that Russia and China were not happy about the American presence in the center of Eurasia. The expert said the situation was not particularly advantageous for America.

    "If the countries where American troops are deployed put forward these demands, on what grounds can Americans extend their stay there?" asked Zatulin.

    However, the expert said the U.S. would insist its presence in the region was essential in efforts to combat terrorism and drug trafficking.

    "Judging by what happened in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, those military bases' presence has not had a positive influence on stability in the republics," Zatulin said. "I believe their presence has not helped reduce drug trafficking or the number of terrorist organizations in the region," he said.

    "Moreover, America's 'flirting' with organizations like the Muslim Brothers is reminiscent of Cold War times, when America established the radical Taliban movement. This is a double-edged sword that can injure its owner," said the member of parliament.

    Zatulin said the withdrawal was possible if Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, not the SCO, demanded it. When President Islam Karimov imposed restrictions on U.S. aircraft flights in Uzbekistan's airspace, American pilots had to respect the decision, he said.

    The SCO leaders adopted a declaration at their meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, on July 5. "Given that the intensive military phase of the antiterrorist operation in Afghanistan is over, the SCO member states believe it is necessary that members of the international antiterrorism coalition determine the deadline for the temporary use of the facilities and the military contingents' deployment on the said states' territories," the declaration said.

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