Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov (file photo) (Bymedia.net)
July 24, 2006 -- Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov today met with his visiting Iranian counterpart, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, in Ashgabat.
Niyazov said after the talks that relations between Iran and Turkmenistan are "advantageous" to Central Asia's security.
Iran's official news agency, IRNA, reports that the two leaders will meet again on July 25, before Ahmadinejad departs for Tajikistan.
This is Ahmadinejad's first official visit
to Turkmenistan. The Iranian president is accompanied by several cabinet ministers.
The two sides were expected to discuss Turkmen gas exports to Iran and efforts to define the final status of the Caspian Sea.
The five states sharing the shores of the Caspian Sea have failed to agree on their respective maritime boundaries -- and the accompanying exploitation of resources -- since the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia have reached an accord, but Iran and Turkmenistan have not signed on to it.
Tajigul Begmedova speaking at RFE/RL in Prague on July 21 (RFE/RL)
LIFE UNDER NIYAZOV:
On July 21, RFE/RL's Prague broadcasting center hosted a presentation by TAJIGUL BEGMEDOVA,
chairwoman of the Bulgaria-based Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (THF). Begmedova discussed the human rights situation in Turkmenistan under President Saparmural Niyazov, focusing on the arrests in June of THF activists and RFE/RL Turkmen Service correspondent Ogulsapar Muradova. Begmedova, who graduated from the Institute of Economy in Moscow in 1987, fled Turkmenistan in 2002 and lives in exile in Sofia.
LISTEN Listen to the complete presentation (36 minutes; presentation in Russian with consecutive translation into English):
Real Audio Windows Media
Some RFE/RL Coverage Of Human Rights In Turkmenistan:
Media Coverage Of Leader Distracts From Real Problems
Authorities Cast Wide Net In Conspiracy Allegations
Embattled Turkmen Writer Honored Abroad
RFE/RL Correspondent Recounts Arrest
ARCHIVE RFE/RL coverage of Turkmenistan.
THE COMPLETE STORY: Click on the icon to view a dedicated webpage bringing together all of RFE/RL's coverage of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.