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Turkmenistan Says Ukraine Delaying Debt Payments


http://gdb.rferl.org/0efe8cd3-88c4-4443-92ae-56db02ce0b77_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/0efe8cd3-88c4-4443-92ae-56db02ce0b77_mw800_mh600.jpg Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov (right) with his Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yushchenko (file photo) (epa) March 19, 2006 -- Turkmenistan has accused Ukraine of failing to pay off its debt for natural-gas deliveries, warning the matter would jeopardize future cooperation.


The Turkmen Foreign Ministry said today that a Ukrainian delegation that had been expected to sign an agreement on debt settlement had postponed its visit.


Last week, Turkmenistan said Ukraine had paid $60 million of its $160 million gas debt, but today the ministry said Ukraine had not yet paid anything. Turkmenistan says Ukraine owes money for gas delivered in 2005.


There was no immediate response from Ukraine.


Turkmenistan is the second-biggest gas producer in the former Soviet Union after Russia and is Ukraine's main gas supplier.


(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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