Russia courts Bishkek on energy, military

Aug. 14, 2012 at 5:56 AM

MOSCOW, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- A Russian official said Tuesday that the Kremlin has called for negotiating an agreement with Kyrgyzstan on energy issues.

Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov met with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev in Moscow to discuss bolstering relations.

Shuvalov said Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed interest in sending a high-level delegation to the former Soviet republic to discuss military, energy and general economic issues.

"We need to agree on solutions that will form the basis of a joint agreement or even several agreements that in fact will begin a new chapter in our relations," he was quoted by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying.

A representative from the International Energy Agency met with regional delegates in Kazakhstan in July to discuss energy technology and the best practices in the renewable energy field.

Delegates included representatives from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Members of the European Union are looking at natural gas reserves in the region as a way to break the Russian grip on the regional energy sector.

Russia has air force units stationed at a military base east of the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek.

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