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Turkmen Report: January 28, 2004

28 January 2004
EU-Turkmenistan Committee Convenes In Brussels
23 January 2004

The European Union-Turkmenistan committee held a meeting in Brussels on 23 January to discuss cooperation issues; Interfax reported the same day, citing the Turkmen Foreign Ministry. Turkmenistan's delegation and representatives of the European Commission and EU member nations attended the event.

The meeting came as part of a new phase in cooperation between Turkmenistan and the EU, which began when Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov in November 2003 sent a letter to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and European Commission President Romano Prodi confirming his country's readiness for a constructive dialogue.

The Foreign Ministry said: "The session addressed key areas of their bilateral partnership. The parties were particularly interested in investment-policy issues and ways of intensifying trade and business ties." The session's agenda also included contacts in energy, transport, communications, agriculture, environmental protection, education, healthcare, the fight against international terrorism, and joint humanitarian projects. The European Commission's representatives confirmed that European organizations are interested in advancing ties with Turkmenistan and implementing joint programs and projects. (Interfax)

Niyazov Appoints Oil Minister
23 January 2004

President Niyazov issued a decree on 23 January, appointing Amangeldy Pudakov, first deputy CEO of the state company Turkmenneft, as the republic's minister for the oil and gas industry and natural resources, Interfax reported the same day. Niyazov also released Pudakov from his duties at Turkmenneft.

Pudakov was born in 1966 and graduated from the Turkmenistan Polytechnic Institute. He worked as chief engineer at Nebitdagnebit, Goturdepenebit and deputy CEO of Turkmenneft in 1996-2002 and was appointed as first deputy CEO of Turkmenneft in 2002.

Former Oil Minister Tachberdy Tagiev was released from his duties in October 2003 to become governor of the Balkan region. (Interfax)

Turkmenistan To Increase Oil, Gas Exports In 2004
23 January 2004

In 2004, Turkmenistan plans to increase the export of oil, gas, and related products by 35 percent to $5.7 billion, ITAR-TASS reported on 23 January, citing the chairman of the Turkmen Mejlis (parliament) Committee on Economy and Social Policy, Viktor Mikhailov.

According to Mikhailov, the export of natural gas alone will amount to 63 billion cubic meters, as well as 6.8 million tons of unprocessed oil. In comparison with 2003, the country's foreign trade turnover will increase by $2 billion to $8.5 billion, he said. The value of imported goods and products will grow to $2.7 billion, or 23 percent more than in 2003.

Industrial and technical products will total 80 percent of the general volume of imported goods ($2.2 billion) and dominate imports as in 2003. Turkmenistan's foreign trade balance in 2004 will have a positive balance of $3.2 billion, Mikhailov claimed. (ITAR-TASS)

Russia Supports Idea Of Holding Next Caspian Summit In Tehran
22 January 2004

Russia supports Iran's initiative for holding the next Caspian summit in Tehran, Interfax reported on 22 January, citing deputy chief of the Kremlin administration Sergei Prikhodko. At the previous summit, Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Iran talked about holding the next top-level meeting in Tehran, he recalled. "Russia had nothing against this," he said.

However, the Russian side believes that before the summit, "concrete understandings should be reached on the legal status of the Caspian, on Caspian Sea environmental problems and other matters," Prikhodko said. (Interfax)

Turkmenistan Starts Gas Supplies To Russia
20 January 2004

Russia has received the first hundreds of millions of cubic meters of Turkmen gas bought by the Russian gas company Gazprom, reported on 20 January, citing Gazprom Deputy Chairman Yurii Komarov. The Russian-Turkmen agreement on cooperation in the gas industry took effect on 1 January.

"The gas is already being supplied. As of 10 January, 116 million cubic meters of gas had been supplied. We have no doubt that Turkmen gas will be in our portfolio," Komarov said. (