World Bulletin / News Desk
Russia and Tajikistan have agreed in principle to extend Moscow's lease on a military base in the strategically located country for another 49 years, Russian and Tajik officials said on Tuesday.
Former imperial master Russia views ex-Soviet Central Asia as its sphere of influence and, as NATO plans to pull out of next-door Afghanistan in 2014, is keen to retain its military presence in the often turbulent region.
The current base lease due to expire on Jan. 1, 2014.
"The defence ministries of Russia and Tajikistan have reached agreement. The base will stay for another 49 years without any compensation to be paid," a senior Tajik official close to the talks told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
"We accepted these conditions in response to Russia's commitment to assist in arming Tajikistan by supplying weapons to the republic at reduced prices," the source said.
Russian news agencies quoted Vladimir Chirkin, commander of Russian land forces, as confirming Russia's 6,000 troops would remain stationed in Tajikistan, Russia's largest military deployment abroad.
The Tajik official close to the talks said Tajikistan was forced to accept Russia's terms over the base because it "has no trump cards in its play with Russia".
"If we reject Russia's terms, it will be able to pressure us, while we won't have anything to resist it," he said. "Let's face the truth: we have unstable Afghanistan in the south and Uzbekistan, which is far from being friendly, to the west and the north."
Tajikistan, which has a population of 7.5 million, is the poorest of the 15 ex-Soviet republics. Cash remittances from the estimated 1 million Tajiks who work abroad, mainly in Russia, help keep its rickety economy afloat.
Russia used its troops deployed in Tajikistan to support the country's secular government, which fought Muslims during a 1992-97 civil war, shoring up Rakhmon's presidency.
"I believe Rakhmon will never be openly opposed to the presence of the 201st base," Tajik political analyst Zafar Abdullayev said.
A group describing themselves as Christian activists repeatedly disrupted a peaceful protest by Muslims who were participating in a rally seeking religious tolerance.
Muhammad Azam Inquilabi, the chief architect of the insurgency in Jammur and Kashmir now advocates a peaceful dialogue. Disgruntled with violence, Inquilabi, 68, now talks of a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue involving India, Pakistan and the people of the state.
The former Taliban commander who turned his back to the Taliban and pledged allegiance to Baghgadi was captured with 45 other.
Imad Mughniyah was the head of Hezbollah’s international operations and had been hunted for decades. In 2008, he approached an SUV and a bomb went off.
Whilst in traditional mosques omwn pray separately from men, muslim women at an interfaith centre in Los Angeles listen to the sermon by Edina Lekovic, a role traditionally reserved for Muslim men.
Nasrallah was speaking at an event to commemorate the deaths of six Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian general killed by an Israeli air strike in Syria on Jan. 18.
ISIL also lost 102 military vehicles and 16 tanks.
Analysts say Pakistan army chief travelled to Beijing to show US it has other regional allies
South Sudanese leader has accused IGAD of "taking custody" of the country.
A vehicle carrying two U.S. citizens came under fire in the Eastern Province district of al-Ahsa, one of the main centres of Saudi Arabia's minority Shi'ites. It was not clear who shot at the vehicle.
Education minister warns against using textbooks that undermine communism
Ahtem Ciygoz was taken into custody on Thursday by the Russian Federal Investigative Committee.
Commander of Iran's elite revolutionary guard meets leader of Hezbollah
Six bodies were found washed ashore on Morocco's Boukana beach, close to a Spanish enclave that is a regular destination for migrants earlier on Friday.
Greece "absolutely against" Eldorado-run mine - energy minister and says that there will be "no way" government will privatise gas utility DEPA. To await EU decision before deciding future of gas grid operator (Adds comments on revoking law over PPC, details, context)
AU commissioner for peace and security Ismail Chergui said that the AU will approve deployment of 7,500 African Union troops to fight Boko Haram in Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon.