Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev has warned that the crisis in Iran and Syria could spill over to Central Asia and called for closer security cooperation with former Soviet states in the region.
“A whole range of processes now unfolding in the Middle East (around Iran, Syria and some other states) have a direct bearing on the situation in our region,” Mr. Medvedev said.
“It is extremely important for Russia to coordinate its efforts with its close partners and allies in order to make the situation in our region, i.e. Central Asia, more stable than it is today, let alone what it may become if events take a negative turn,” Mr. Medvedev told visiting Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev.
Ahead of Mr. Atambayev’s visit the Russian Foreign Ministry said Western powers were using Iran’s nuclear programme as a pretext to “re-carve the geopolitical map of the large hydrocarbon-rich region that includes Central Asia.”
The Ministry also said it did not rule out that the U.S. could use its airbase in Kyrgyzstan for a possible attack against Iran.
Mr. Atambayev, who also met with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, said he had discussed with the Russian leaders plans for Kyrgyzstan to join the Eurasian economic union Russia is building with Belarus and Kazakhstan.
“Kyrgizstan should be in a single economic space with Russia,” he said in a radio interview after his talks in Moscow.
The Kyrgyz leader confirmed that there would be no U.S. military base in Kyrgyzstan after 2014. Interestingly, he did not rule out that the Russian airbase eventually would also be pulled out of Kyrgyzstan.
“Why do we need them [bases] anyway?” he asked rhetorically. “If we are an independent state, we must build our own army capable of defending our country… If we join the [Eurasian] economic alliance, we will automatically have common borders with Russia.”