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Putin Signs Economic, Security Agreements with Kyrgyzstan - 2002-12-05

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a series of economic and security agreements with Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev. The Russian President signed the agreements during a one-day stop in Kyrgzstan, the latest stop on Mr. Putin's trip through the region.

The agreement signed by the two leaders is meant to strengthen cooperation between Russia and Kyrgyzstan in countering international terrorism and drug and weapons trafficking.

In a joint news conference following talks between the two leaders in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, President Putin said the agreement aims to make Russian-Kyrgyz cooperation more open.

The two leaders also signed a separate agreement on settling Kyrgyzstan's debt to Russia.

Russia's Interfax news agency quotes President Akayev as saying his country will continue to provide bases for forces of the international anti-terrorist coalition until the United Nation's mandate for action in Afghanistan expires.

The United States currently has more than 2,000 soldiers based in Kyrgyzstan and neighboring Uzbekistan.

The meeting between the two leaders comes one day after Moscow's first significant military deployment in Central Asia since the United States established its military presence there last year, following the September 11th terrorist attacks in the United States.

On Wednesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov attended a private air show of three Su-27 jet fighters at a Kyrgyz airbase outside Bishkek.

Eventually, Russia plans to send about 20 planes to Kyrgyzstan to join a permanent deployment of rapid reaction forces under a collective security treaty, signed by Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Kyrgyzstan was the last stop on President Putin's Asian tour, which also took him to China and India.