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Turkmenistan: Niyazov Names New Appointees

By Lowell Bezanis

Ashgabat, Teheran; 13 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov has issued a decree appointing Akmurad Mulkamanov First Deputy Defense Minister and Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff. Mulkamanov, who earlier headed an unnamed body which coordinated the country's national security agencies, replaced Annamurad Soltanov, who previously held both positions.

Niyazov yesterday also issued a decree effectively abolishing what was described as the government Press Committee, and creating a state-run publishing house subordinated to the cabinet.

Niyazov today concludes a visit to Teheran for talks focusing on regional problems, specifically Afghanistan and Tajikistan. He is also expected to discuss enhancing cooperation in several areas, notably transport, the oil-and-gas sector and trade.

In the past six years, Niyazov has visited Teheran more than a dozen times, and signed more than 100 bilateral agreements. Bilateral trade is estimated at 100-million dollars, and Iranian investment in Turkmenistan is estimated at 250-million dollars.