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Ukraine's President Due In Turkmenistan

22 March 2005 -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is due in Ashgabat today for talks with Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov.

A spokeswoman, Iryna Heraschenko, for Yushchenko says talks during the two-day visit will focus on energy issues.

Turkmenistan is one of the largest suppliers of natural gas to Ukraine. Earlier this year, the Turkmen government forced Ukraine to pay higher prices after temporarily shutting off gas supplies.

Turkmenistan resumed gas supplies after Ukraine agreed to a 32-percent price increase.

Ukraine's new government has said one of its top priorities is to diversify its sources of gas and oil supplies, a move that would give the ex-Soviet republic greater independence from Russia, its other major supplier.