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Russia Expects U.S. Explanations on Plans to Keep Military Bases in Afghanistan After 2014 - Lavrov

File Photo of U.S. Troops in Afghanistan Atop Ridge Surveying Valley
file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 21 (Interfax) - Russia expects explanations from the U.S. about its plans to create military bases in Afghanistan after withdrawing troops from there in 2014.

"One thing (the withdrawal of troops) appears to contradict the other (the creation of military bases). We would like to get to the bottom of that," Lavrov told a press conference in Moscow on Monday. At the same time, he pointed out that "from a purely legal viewpoint, it's an issue of relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan."

"However, in a broader political sense we also need to take into account the interests of the countries of this troubled region, which are directly impacted by what is happening in Afghanistan," Lavrov said.

"For this reason, it is important to understand what tasks will be solved by the military bases in Afghanistan, which will stay there after the announced withdrawal of troops in 2014," Lavrov said.

"We are discussing these issues openly with Afghanistan and our U.S. partners. It is important for us to understand how the announced withdrawal of troops, which is linked to the fact that the task will have been solved by 2014, and the upcoming creation of military bases," he said.

Kazakh Foreign Minister Yerzhak Kazykhanov, in turn, reiterated that the agreement between Afghanistan and the U.S. on long-term and strategic cooperation is an issue of bilateral relations and expressed an interest in any agreements signed in the region taking into account the interests of both the neighboring countries and the countries of Central Asia in general.

"The countries of the region and large powers should re-confirm their adherence to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Afghanistan. In my view, the main efforts should be aimed at prompt stabilization of the situation in the country and its economic rehabilitation," the minister said.

Kazykhanov recalled that a large conference will be held in Bonn on December 5, which will be attended by representatives of over 65 countries at the level of the foreign ministers, to discuss Afghanistan issues.

Kazykhanov said he is hoping the Bonn conference and other events addressing the Afghanistan issue will promote prompt stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan.

Russia, Central Asia, Afghanistan - Russian News - Russia - Johnson's Russia List

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