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Turkmen Report: March 25, 2004

25 March 2004
Turkmenistan Celebrates Norouz
Turkmenistan is celebrating Norouz, the first day of spring and a day that marks a new beginning in much of the Middle East and Central Asia, ITAR-TASS reported on 21 March.

Norouz became a national holiday in Turkmenistan in 1992, and the month of March was renamed after Norouz in 2002 by the Turkmen president. The spring holiday in Turkmenistan begins on 20 March with national women's day and the country celebrates it for two days. (ITAR-TASS)

Ukraine, Turkmenistan To Sign Agreement On Gas Supplies
Ukraine and Turkmenistan intend to sign a long-term agreement on gas supplies, ITAR-TASS reported on 20 March, citing the Turkmen presidential press service.

According to the report, during a telephone conversation, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and his Turkmen counterpart Saparmurat Niyazov discussed cooperation between the two countries, including in the energy sector.

Kuchma and Niyazov agreed that the Ukrainian president will visit Turkmenistan at the beginning of May to sign a long-term agreement on Turkmen gas supplies to Ukraine.

Turkmenistan has supplied gas to Ukraine under an intergovernmental agreement slated for 2002-2006, which was signed in 2001. Each year Ukraine bought 30-40 billion cubic meters of Turkmen gas.

Turkmenistan is Ukraine's major gas supplier: in 2003 its share in Ukraine's gas consumption reached 45 percent. (ITAR-TASS)

Women Of Turkmenistan To Get Presents From Niyazov
During the "Festival of Spring" observed in Turkmenistan from 20-22 March, the women of Turkmenistan will get presents in the name of President Niyazov, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 March.

On 17 March, Niyazov issued a decree saying that women workers of state organizations, enterprises, and private companies, as well as retired women and students, are entitled to getting special benefits amounting to 200,000 manats ($10).

School students and nurses at kindergartens will get similar presents.

All in all, the president's action will give all females in Turkmenistan -- about 3 million -- a present.

This is a annual campaign. Women received the biggest presents in 2000, the last year that the country celebrated International Women's Day on 8 March.

Under the presidential decree that year, each woman received a bonus the size or her monthly salary, wage, pension, allowance, or student scholarship. (ITAR-TASS)

Niyazov Issues Decree On Demarcation Of Turkmen-Kazakh Border
President Niyazov has issued a decree in accordance with an agreement between Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan on the delimitation and process of demarcation of the Turkmen-Kazakh state border, reported on 16 March, citing Turkmen TV.

According to the decree, the State Border Service of Turkmenistan and the State Committee of Turkmenistan for cartography and land registration were assigned to carry out work on the demarcation. (, Turkmen TV)

American Company To Supply Satellite Broadcasting Equipment For Turkmen TV
The Turkmen Ministry of Communications will soon sign a contract with the American InSpace Communications company to supply, install, and put into operation satellite broadcasting equipment for Turkmen TV's four channels, reported on 16 March.

President Niyazov signed a decree to this effect on 16 March. The contract's value is $1,164,500 with completion set for 30 June.

In mid-February, Niyazov stated his intention to launch the fourth TV channel, which would broadcast in several foreign languages, including Russian, English, Chinese, French, and Persian. The new TV channel was charged with informing the world about life in Turkmenistan. (