Posted: Sep 29, 2012 6:41 AM
Updated: Sep 29, 2012 6:42 AM
MOSCOW (AP) A top Russian general says Moscow will secure a deal to extend Russian military presence in the Central Asian nation of Tajikistan by the first half of 2013.
Central Asian nations are apprehensive at the prospect of the NATO coalition's withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 and have expressed fears that violence could spill over.
Russia's ground forces commander Vladimir Chirkin said Saturday that outstanding issues on the terms of the deal will continue to be discussed with Tajikistan until the end of March.
Some 7,000 Russian soldiers are posted across three garrisons in the former Soviet republic neighboring Afghanistan.
An agreement to extend the current lease, which expires in 2014, has been delayed amid reported disagreements about the financial terms.