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(RFE/RL) 19 February 2006 -- Turkmenistan is accusing Ukraine of taking an "unconstructive approach" in talks over Ukraine's multimillion-dollar gas debts.


The Turkmen Foreign Ministry said Ukraine did not take the necessary steps to settle the issue of full payment for Turkmen natural gas supplies at negotiations on 17 and 18 February.


Instead, the statement said Ukraine attempted to complicate the calculation of the debts.


It added that such a position could hamper cooperation between Ukraine and Turkmenistan in gas supplies in 2007 and following years.


According to Turkmenistan, Ukraine owes $160 million.


(AP)

Turkmenistan In The Middle

Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov (right) meeting with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko in Ashgabat in March 2005

PLAYING BOTH SIDES: The Russian-Ukrainian gas dispute is testing Turkmenistan's self-declared policy of neutrality. Along with Russia, Turkmenistan is one of Ukraine's two biggest gas suppliers. Throughout the crisis, Ukraine suggested it could turn to Turkmenistan to make up any losses of Russian gas supplies. That puts Turkmenistan in a difficult position as it seeks to balance its relations with two capitals: Moscow and Kyiv...(more)


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