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Russia, Kyrgyzstan to sign base deal: official
Updated: 2009-08-01 00:02

CHOLPON ATA, Kyrgyzstan: Russia and Kyrgyzstan plan to sign a deal on Saturday to establish a new military base in the Central Asian country, a senior Kyrgyz official said.

Both the United States and Russia already operate military bases in the impoverished and mountainous former Soviet republic, and senior Russian officials recently travelled to Bishkek to press for the creation of a new base.

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Moscow has said the planned base would operate under the umbrella of the Russian-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO).

The head of Kyrgyzstan's security council, Adakhan Madumarov on Friday told reporters that the leaders of Russia and Kyrgyzstan planned to sign a memorandum on the issue after talks on Saturday.

"I hope, that tomorrow morning there will be a bilateral meeting...and as a result of this meeting the signing of a Kyrgyz-Russian memorandum on this question is planned," Madumarov told reporters in Bishkek.

In February, Bishkek announced plans to close US operations at the Manas airbase, a key support to its operations in nearby Afghanistan. But it reversed the decision after the United States agreed to pay $180 million to keep it open.

Kyrgyz President Kurmanek Bakiyev is hosting a summit of CSTO leaders at the resort of Cholpon Ata, where Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and the leaders of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia are also attending.