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Turkmenistan: Russia Asks For Explanation

Moscow, 14 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russia has asked Turkmenistan for an explanation of President Saparmurat Niyazov's decision to suspend the two countries' dual citizenship agreement. Niyazov announced the decision to suspend the dual-citizenship agreement on 12 January, saying that Turkmen citizens in Russia must live by Turkmen laws. Niyazov said Turkmenistan already considers the agreement suspended following an attempt on his life in November, because most of the suspects in the assassination attempt had dual Turkmen-Russian citizenship.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Yakovenko today said Russia has not received any formal notification on the dual-citizenship decision, and has asked Turkmenistan for an explanation.

Turkmenistan admits to holding 61 people in connection with the assassination attempt, including five Russian citizens. Niyazov has said one of the masterminds of the attacks is hiding in Russia.