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Turkmen Report: June 10, 2003


10 June 2003
NATIONAL NEWS
Russian, Turkmen Delegations Fail To Resolve Dual-Citizenship Dispute
7 June 2003

Russian and Turkmen officials on 7 June ended two days of talks in Ashgabat without resolving a dispute on how to phase out the two countries' dual-citizenship agreement, AP reported the same day.

The head of the Russian delegation, Foreign Ministry official Vladimir Kotenev, said the two sides agreed to set up a bilateral commission to address the citizenship issue. But he said he did not know if the commission will be in place by a 22 June deadline set by Turkmenistan, by which residents must decide between Russian and Turkmen citizenship.

The Turkmen and Russian presidents agreed in April to cancel their countries' dual-citizenship arrangement. But Turkmenistan then set a quick deadline to abolish dual citizenship without waiting for Russian lawmakers' approval. On 6 June Kotenev said, "No one can place conditions on a Russian citizen to give up his Russian citizenship." There are some 100,000 Russian citizens living in Turkmenistan. (AP)

Niyazov's Poetry Hits Bookstores In Turkmenistan
4 June 2003

A new collection of poetry written by Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov is now available in bookstores in Turkmenistan, AFP reported on 4 June. Copies of Niyazov's "The Three Evils Threatening Our Homeland" went on sale this week.

The collection of poetry describes the evils of lack of discipline, arrogance, and wayward thinking. The collection is expected to join Niyazov's earlier work "Rukhnama," which is now obligatory material in Turkmen schools and universities. Turkmen officials have billed that book as a guide to proper, traditional Turkmen behavior.

Niyazov previewed some of his latest work when he sacked the chief of the country's armed forces last week, telling other members of the military present that if they avoided these three vices (lack of discipline, arrogance and wayward thinking), the country would be prosperous. (AFP)

Moscow Says Dual-Citizenship Accord With Turkmenistan Is Still In Effect
4 June 2003

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Yakovenko told Russian journalists on 4 June that, as far as the Russian Federation is concerned, the agreement between Russia and Turkmenistan on dual citizenship is still in effect, Interfax reported the same day.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkmen President Niyazov agreed to revoke the 1993 dual-citizenship agreement when the two leaders met in Moscow in April to sign a major gas deal. After his return to Ashgabat, Niyazov issued a decree giving holders of dual citizenship residing in Turkmenistan two months to decide which citizenship they wanted to retain.

The result has been panic among the holders of dual citizenship in Turkmenistan and a political scandal in Russia, where a number of politicians and media have accused Putin of selling out the ethnic Russians of Turkmenistan for the sake of the gas deal.

The Russian Foreign Ministry publicly criticized Turkmenistan at the end of April for ignoring the terms of the protocol revoking the dual-citizenship agreement. (Interfax)

Turkmenistan High On U.S. List Of World's Richest Hydrocarbon Reserves
4 June 2003

On the newly published rating list of the U.S. Geological Survey, Turkmenistan is ranked 10th among the countries with promising prospects for raw hydrocarbon extraction, turkmenistan.ru reported on 4 June.

The first three places on the list went to Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Turkmenistan is known as one of the world's richest countries for its oil and gas reserves. According to a government source, Turkmenistan's raw hydrocarbon resources are estimated as 45 billion tons of oil equivalent.

At the same time, more than half of Turkmenistan's oil resources and 25 percent of its natural-gas reserves are concentrated in the Caspian Sea offshore areas. Thus, the hydrocarbon resources of the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea are estimated at 18.2 billion tons of conditional fuel, including 12 billion tons of oil and 9.2 billion tons of gas equivalent. (Turkmenistan.ru)

Russian Legislators To Discuss The Status Of Turkmen Russians
2 June 2003

The State Duma will discuss relations with Turkmenistan and the position of Turkmen Russians, Interfax reported on 2 June, citing sources with the Duma Foreign Relations Committee.

Committee Chairman Dmitrii Rogozin has suggested the Duma Council hold parliament hearings on Russia's foreign policy in Central Asia on 24 June. Rogozin said on 23 May that parliament members will closely study "the Turkmen dossier," because they have "serious and very alarming information showing that preparations for a large-scale deportation of Russians are under way in Turkmenistan and that the Turkmen administration had direct ties to the Taliban."

The Turkmen Foreign Ministry has protested against the critical remarks by Russian politicians and press about Ashgabat. "The Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan is protesting the slanderous attacks against Turkmenistan circulated through the Russian media and reserves the right to act in keeping with international law," the ministry's said in a statement.

Representatives of the Turkmen opposition will be invited to attend the hearings at the State Duma, Interfax reported, citing sources in the Duma Foreign Relations Committee. (Interfax)

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