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Turkmenistan: President Holds Talks to Increase Sale of Gas

Moscow, August 8 (RFE/RL) -- Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov is expected to sign an agreement detailing conditions for further operations of a Russia-Turkmenistan joint stock company that transports and sells Turkmen gas to other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

He is holding talks today in Moscow with representatives of Russia's Gazprom oil-and-gas company. He will also attend tomorrow's inauguration of President Boris Yeltsin.

Niyazov also plans tri-partite talks with Russian and American oil company representatives on a joint project to build a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to Pakistan.

Turkmenistan's Foreign Minister Boris Shikhmuradov held talks in Islamabad this week on the planned $6 billion, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline. Turkmenistan is exploring the Afghanistan route because of U.S. sanctions against Iran, and the planned participation in the pipeline project by an American oil company.

Russia's Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov this week ordered the creation in the foreign ministry of a special working group on the Caspian Sea. The group will develop proposals on Caspian resources, especially oil. Foreign ministers of the Caspian states, including Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Iran plan a conference in Ashgabat in early November