21/7 Tass 285 A
DUSHANBE, July 21 (Itar-Tass) – Tajikistan hopes to sign a new military cooperation agreement with Russia not later than September this year. The agreement will determine the future of the 201st Russian military base located in Tajikistan and the Aini airport, according to Tajik Foreign Minister Khamrokhon Zarifi.
“Negotiations on the military base and the use of the Aini airport by Russia have been under way since 2008. These questions are not simple or easy. So far the positions of the sides haven’t reached a necessary degree of rapprochement that would make it possible to sign an agreement. But work is going ahead at the level of experts. I think that this vital document is going to be signed during the CIS jubilee summit this September in which Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will also take part,” Zarifi told a news conference in Dushanbe last week.
As far as the Aini airport is concerned, the Tajik foreign minister said that land costs money and those who want to use the airport should be ready to pay this price.
At the same time, he gave a positive assessment of Tajik-Russian relations.
“Russia is our vital strategic partner which is proved by the level of our trade and economic partnership and cooperation in humanitarian sphere,” the Tajik foreign minister emphasized.
Mr. Zarifi spoke highly of the CIS and its prospects.
“It certainly has its advantages and disadvantages and the advantages are outweighing. We’ve managed to establish trade and economic ties with each other,“ the Tajik foreign minister said. Tajikistan has drafted a Concept of the CIS development for the next 20 years. “I am an optimist, and my vision of the future is optimistic,” the Tajik foreign minister said in conclusion.