C.Asian states downplay 'Russia proposal' to send troops to Syria



BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN- Ex-Soviet Central Asia countries Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan Friday downplayed reported proposals from Moscow to send their troops to assist in peacemaking efforts in Syria.
Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdyrakmanov said the oil-rich Central Asian country was "not negotiating with anybody" on sending soldiers to Syria to police de-escalation zones.



Abdyrakmanov's comments came after Vladimir Shamanov, head of Russia's lower house of parliament's defence committee, told RIA Novosti news agency that Moscow had made "proposals to our colleagues from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan" on the subject.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin also said Thursday: "There is even a suggestion from the Russians: maybe Kyrgyz, the Kazakhs could send a certain number of forces."
Kazakhstan said diplomats would "discuss this and other questions" on July 4-5 at upcoming Syria peace talks spearheaded by Russia in the country's capital of Astana.
But he stressed that the United Nations Security Council would need to approve such a move.
"A crucially important condition for our country to consider the possibility of sending its peacekeepers to any conflict zone... is a UN Security Council resolution and the necessary mandate," he said.
The secretary of Kyrygzstan's national security commitee Temir Djumakadyrov said "the question had been raised" within the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, a Russia-led security bloc, but that there were "no negotiations" at present.
"We have received no official proposals from Russia concerning the transfer of our troops to Syria," Djumakadyrov told AFP by telephone.
The country's Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldaev told Russia's Interfax news agency that the question was not discussed when Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev met Russia's Vladimir Putin in Moscow this week.
The Islamic State and other militant jihadist groups have gained thousands of recruits from the mainly Muslim ex-Soviet Central Asian states of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
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Friday, June 23rd 2017
AFP
           


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