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Turkmenistan's Niyazov To Meet With Putin This Month

President Niyazov last visited Moscow in May 2005 (file photo) (AFP) 5 January 2006 -- Turkmenistan President Saparmurat Niyazov will travel to Moscow this month for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Turkmen Foreign Ministry said today that natural gas supplies from the Central Asian nation are among the issues expected to dominate the talks on 22-23 January.

The ministry said in a statement that Putin had invited Niyazov to visit Moscow in a telephone conversation.

Turkmenistan is the second-biggest gas producer in the former Soviet Union, after Russia.

The announcement came one day after Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement on restoring natural gas supplies to Ukraine, ending a dispute over pricing. The complex deal involves gas from Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan transported via Russian pipelines.

Niyazov, who rarely leaves his country, last traveled to Moscow in May 2005 for the anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany.