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Turkmenistan: German Bank Plans Loan; Russia Comments On Caspian

Ashgabat, Moscow; 11 September 1996 (RFE/RL) - Germany's Deutsche Bank plans to extend a $170-million credit to Ashgabat to pay for a new facility a German company will build at Turkmenistan's Turkmenbashi oil refinery.

The German company, Mannesmann, will use the facility to refine additional lubricating oil and kerosene. The German bank made the announcement this week., reports RFE/RL's Turkmen Service. The bank is also participating in a project to modernize the Ashgabat airport.

Meanwhile, Russia's minister for cooperation with other CIS members, Aman Tuleyev, says a comprehensive agreement on the production of oil in the Caspian Sea is one of the major problems in terms of the integration between the fuel-and-energy sectors of Russia and other CIS members.

Tuleyev this week called for bi-lateral negotiations with other Caspian states. Since the disunion of the U.S.S.R. in 1991, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have been at odds with Russia and Iran in the so-called "sea/lake" dispute.

Moscow and Teheran argue that the landlocked Caspian should be regarded as a lake under international law, whose resources should be shared equally by coastal states. But Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan claim the Caspian should be regarded as a sea, which would give them the right to develop their own coastal waters.