Putin Arrives In Tajikistan For First Stop On Trip To Central Asia

1 month ago tngadmin Comments Off on Putin Arrives In Tajikistan For First Stop On Trip To Central Asia

DUSHANBE -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has started a one-day visit to Tajikistan, where he is holding talks with his Tajik counterpart, Emomali Rahmon, as Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine continues to raise concerns in Central Asia.

Rahmon greeted Putin at the Dushanbe international airport on June 28 and the two leaders immediately left for talks.

Rahmon's spokesman Abdufattoh Sharifzoda told RFE/RL that no documents will be signed during Putin's visit, the Russian president's first public foreign trip since the start of the war in February. Sharifzoda added that Putin is on a working trip and all talks will be held face-to-face.

Sharifzoda also said that the two presidents will discuss "bilateral ties, the development of cultural and economic relations, and regional and global issues, especially the situation in Afghanistan."

Putin aide Yury Ushakov was quoted by Russian media as saying that Putin and Rahmon will also discuss "issues related to military cooperation and Tajik migrant workers in Russia."

Ushakov said they also would discuss measures to improve security along Tajikistan's porous 1,357-kilometer border with Afghanistan.

Moscow has stationed about 7,000 troops from Russia’s 201st Motor Rifle Division at three facilities that are considered part of a Russian base in Tajikistan.

On July 29, Putin will leave Tajikistan for the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, where he will attend a summit of countries bordering the Caspian Sea, which include Azerbaijan, Iran, and Kazakhstan.

Putin's visit to the two Central Asian nations comes days after he told another ally, Belarus's authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka, that Moscow will supply Minsk with an Iskander-M mobile missile system with a range of up to 500 kilometers as the standoff between Russia and the West over the war in Ukraine escalates.

Russia, Belarus, and Tajikistan, along with Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

Earlier this month, while attending an economic forum in St. Petersburg, Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev pushed back against Moscow's narrative of the invasion of Ukraine, rejecting recognition for "quasi-states" such as the regions in eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia-backed separatists.

He also vowed that Kazakhstan wouldn't break international sanctions imposed against Russia over its actions in Ukraine.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.