DUSHANBE, July 2, 2012, Asia-Plus  -- Politically incorrect statement made by Russian flag officer that predicts the possibility of appearance of local conflicts in Central Asia will scarcely promote the establishment of constructive and good-neighborly relations between the countries of the region, a statement released by the Ministry of Defense of Tajikistan on July 1 said.

The statement, in particular, says that the Tajik MoD is amazed at the position of the Russian general, who could inform his partners of his concern through allied or integration structures, for example the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), but he has preferred to choose the way of public statement that does not promote solution of problems he has raised.

“As far as topical issues of military and military-technical cooperation between Tajikistan and the Russian Federation, including the presence of Russia’s military base here, is concerned, the planned work on verification and specification of positions of the sides is going on in accordance with directions of the leaderships of the two countries and the work will be finished in time if good will and mutual understanding are shown.”

As it had been reported earlier, in a report released at the session of the Federation Council (Russia’s upper house of parliament), Russian Ground Forces commander, Colonel-General Vladimir Chirkin, revealed on June 26 that the agreement extending the presence of Russia’s military base in Tajikistan for another 49 years is under threat.

“There are many problems which may put under threat the signing of the agreement on extension of the presence of Russia''s military base in Tajikistan,” Chirkin said, adding that Tajikistan proposed to cut the presence of the Russian military base to 10 years.

“In connection with the predicted aggravation of interstate contradictions in the field of use of land and power-and-water resources and lands in Central Asia local conflicts with participation of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan may arise,” the Russian general said.

We will recall that Tajik Foreign Minister told reporters in Dushanbe on July 18, 2011 that Tajik territory cannot be used by a foreign military free of charge.  Some Russian media source reported last year that Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi suggested that Russia should pay 300 million annually and they deemed this suggestion “unrealistic.”

Under the current 10-year lease signed in 2004, Russia gets exclusive use of three military bases and joint use of an air base free of charge.  During their talks in Dushanbe on September 2, 2011, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev agreed to sign a formal agreement extending the presence of Russia''s 201st Division in Tajikistan for another 49 years.

The presence of Russian troops in Tajikistan reportedly accounts for Russia''s second-largest military contingent outside its own territory -- following only the 13,000-strong Black Sea Fleet in the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol.