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Kyrgyzstan: Uzbeks Halt Natural Gas Deliveries

Bishkek, 18 October 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyzstan's state-run Kyrgyzgas natural gas company confirmed today it has stopped receiving natural gas from neighboring Uzbekistan. The halt came late last month amid growing tensions over non-payment and other contractual obligations. This is the first comfirmation out of Kyrgyzstan of the stoppage. What prompted the Uzbek decision is unclear.

Kyrgyzgas deputy head Alexander Yerpunov told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that Uzbekistan last week also interrupted shipments to the state-run Kyrgyzenergo company, which supplies power and heating stations with imported natural gas.

According to Kyrgyz officials, Uzbekistan accuses its neighbor of violating a December 2000 agreement under which Kyrgyzstan should buy 1 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity by the end of this year. Uzbekistan says Kyrgyzstan has bought only 270 million kilowatt-hours of electricity so far.