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Putin and Berdymukhammedov at an April meeting (epa)
May 11, 2007 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin today called Turkmenistan a strategic energy partner for his country, but urged increased bilateral cooperation in other spheres.
Putin made the remarks at a meeting with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov in Turkmenistan's capital, Ashgabat.
Putin, Berdymukhammedov, and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev are due to hold a summit in the coastal city of Turkmenbashi on May 12 focusing on plans to build a pipeline that would carry natural gas from Turkmenistan through Kazakhstan and Russia to Europe.
On May 10, the Russian and Kazakh presidents agreed that more Kazakh oil exports to Europe will be shipped through Russian territory.
As the leaders address energy issues in Turkmenistan, Polish President Lech Kaczynski is hosting a separate two-day energy summit that starts today in the Polish city of Krakow.
The presidents of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Kazakhstan have been invited to the meeting to discuss possibilities for transporting oil from the Central Asian region to West European pipelines without going through Russia. Kazakhstan's Nazarbaev opted out of the Polish summit to attend the talks in Ashgabat.
(compiled from agency reports)