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Turkmenistan: Ukraine Aims To Resolve Energy Debt

Ashgabat, 30 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - A Ukrainian delegation is in Ashgabat today for talks aimed at resolving Ukraine's gas debt to Turkmenistan.

An RFE/RL correspondent says the Ukrainian delegation, which is led by deputy prime minister Anatoly Golubchinko, will meet with Turkmen deputy Prime Minister Rejep Saparov. The talks center on determining how much Ukraine owes Turkmenistan for the latter's 1996-96 gas exports. Turkmenistan halted gas shipments to Ukraine last March in protest over Ukraine's failure to pay its gas bill.

A spokesman for the Turkmen company Itera that was authorized by Ashgabat to ship the gas to Ukraine, said today that most of the debt would be paid by means of barter rather than cash.

In another development, U.S. Ambassador-at-large and the State Department's special envoy to the Newly Independent States, Steven Sestanovic is in Ashgabat today for talks in preparation for Turkmen president Saparmyrad Niyazov's official visit to Washington at an unspecified date early next year.