"At present, Russia has military presence in all CIS countries except Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The distance between the U.S. and the Russian military bases in Kyrgyzstan is 30 kilometers and they coexist peacefully," the minister stated.
He said that these bases have different statuses: the American base in Manas has been temporarily created solely for the purpose of counter-terrorist operation in Afghanistan, and the Russian base has been established because Russia and Kyrgyzstan are partners in the framework of Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which includes Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Armenia.
Speaking about the U.S. military presence in Georgia, Mr. Ivanov underlined, "As to Georgia, Russia has several military bases there, and now the United States has also established its military presence in the country. U.S. military experts train Georgian military personnel to participate in peacekeeping operations throughout the world, including in Iraq."
At the same time, the minister stressed that it was important for Russia not to allow the participation of Georgian military personnel trained by American specialists in internal conflicts.
"In general, we are particularly concerned about the U.S. military presence on the territory of CIS countries," Mr. Ivanov conceded. He pointed out that this issue had been discussed during his regular meetings with U.S. defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Mr. Ivanov also announced that Russia and the United States agreed to coordinate joint actions of military personnel of both countries in the natural disaster zone in South East Asia.
"During the meeting with Donald Rumsfeld, we agreed to instruct authorized officials coordinating the actions of military personnel in the natural disaster zone," Mr. Ivanov stated.
He said that the Russian defense ministry has already sent more than ten transport planes to South East Asia. The planes delivered water-purifying systems, medical supplies and tents to the zones devastated by tsunami.