DUSHANBE -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called a Russian military base in Tajikistan "an important factor for Tajikistan's security."
Speaking to journalists in Dushanbe on February 5 after talks with Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin, Lavrov said Moscow is ready to assist Tajikistan in the modernization of its armed forces and "strengthening the state border," taking into account, among other things, "existing threats that continue to be imposed from the territory of Afghanistan."
"I would like to stress the role of Russia’s 201st Military Base [in Tajikistan], which is an important factor of Tajikistan’s security," Lavrov said.
About 7,000 troops from Russia’s 201st Motor Rifle Division are stationed at three facilities that are considered part of the Russian base in Tajikistan.
Lavrov, who started his Central Asian tour on February 4 with a visit to Kyrgyzstan, said in Bishkek earlier that Moscow is open to talks about setting up a second Russian military base in Kyrgyzstan if Kyrgyz authorities initiate the issue.
Lavrov is scheduled to conclude his tour of the region with a visit to Turkmenistan on February 6.