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Turkmenistan: Rushailo Pledges Aid In Investigation

Ashgabat, 3 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Security Council Secretary Vladimir Rushailo said after his talks with Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov today that Russia would help in an investigation into an assassination attempt on Niyazov. Rushailo and Niyazov met for nearly five hours to discuss various issues of the two countries bilateral relations.

Following the meeting, Rushailo spoke to reporters saying Russia considers the attempt on Niyazov's life to be an act of terrorism and said Russia offered assistance to Turkmenistan in investigating the attack.

Turkmen authorities are holding four Russian citizens in connection with the 25 November attack on Niyazov's motorcade. Former Turkmen Foreign Minister Boris Shikhmuradov was found guilty of planning the attack earlier this week and sentenced to life imprisonment. Shikhmuradov also has Russian citizenship.

Also, Rushailo and Turkmen Defense Minister Rejepbai Arazov signed an agreement on cooperation between the two countries' security services.

Other topics discussed during Rushailo's two-day visit to Turkmenistan, which ends today, were use of the Caspian Sea's resources, the fight against terrorism in Central Asia and Afghanistan, and the possibility of war in Iraq.