DUSHANBE, September 20, 2012, Asia-Plus -- Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev near Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on September 20 to discuss cooperation issues including the future of a Russian military base in Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan and Russia signed a number of cooperation agreements.

Kyrgyz news agency, KiTAG, reports the sides singed a document confirming Russia will gradually write off Kyrgyzstan''s entire $489 million debt by March 2016.  The agreement was signed by Kyrgyz Minister of Finance Olga Lavrova and Russian Deputy Minister of Finance Sergey Storchak

Kyrgyz Minister of Energy and Industry Avtandil Kalmabetov and Russian Minister of Energy Alekansdr Novak signed agreements to finish construction of the Naryn Cascade project and Kambar-Ata-1 hydroelectric power plant (HHP).  

President Putin reportedly said at a joint press conference with President Atambayev after the meeting that Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan -- two countries that have expressed concerns about the effects of Kyrgyz hydropower plants on their agricultural lands -- could join in the projects, which the Russian leader assured would not have any adverse consequences for farming in those neighboring countries.

According to Radio Liberty, Putin also said at the press conference the Russian base in Kyrgyzstan and Russian bases in neighboring Tajikistan are “acting as a factor of stability” in those two countries and in Central Asia generally.

The subject of a U.S. base in Kyrgyzstan came up at the two presidents'' press conference, RFE/RL reports.

Atambayev reportedly said the U.S. base at Manas, which is being used as a transit center to ferry supplies and troops to Afghanistan, would be closed.

A joint statement signed by Putin and Atambaev mentioned "Kyrgyzstan''s intention to transform the transit center at Manas airport…into a civilian facility free of any military component" after the U.S. lease expires in 2014, RFE/RL noted.