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Turkmen Report: February 3, 2002

3 February 2002
US Official Holds Talks With Turkmen President

30 January 2002

Elizabeth Jones, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, met with Turkmen President Niyazov in Ashgabat on 29 and 30 January.

The US won't establish its military bases in the Central Asian states, assistant of the US State Secretary for Europe and Eurasia Elizabeth Johns said in Ashgabat on 29 January.

She said the US will proceed working in the region. "The US doesn't have military bases in any state of the region, but uses units provided by state governments for stationing techniques and some part of the US servicemen," Johns said.

Itar-tass quoted Jones as saying after the meeting that the United States seeks to create favorable conditions for investment in the development of Afghanistan and the region as the whole. She said that Turkmenistan plays an important role in supporting U.S. efforts to ensure security in Afghanistan.

Jones is on a tour of Central Asian countries to emphasize the importance the United States gives to its new ties in the region. She ended her tour on 1 February. (RFE/RL Turkmen Service, ITAR-TASS)

Turkmenistan To Buy Agricultural Machines

30 January 2002

Turkmenistan intends to buy 100 to 150 agricultural machines a year from the U.S. corporation Case until 2010, President Niyazov told the press following a meeting with Case CEO Jean-Pierre Rosso.

Case will deliver 100 cotton combines and spare parts worth $22 million by August 1, 2002, 90 grain combines worth $11.7 million by May 15, and 8 rice combines worth $1 million by September 1. It will also repair 310 grain combines by May 16 and 164 tractors by August 1 and deliver spare parts for them worth $11.6 million.

Niyazov emphasized the important role of the American corporation in implementing the Turkmen national food safety program. "It is largely thanks to it that the agricultural and water sectors have concentrated a large fleet of different machinery, which has significantly increased productiveness in the fields and helped consolidate international standards in grain and cotton growing technology," Niyazov said. "We will continue this strategy, which is impossible to accomplish without up-to-date machinery, and therefore there are good prospects for partnership with Case," he said.

Case has supplied Turkmenistan with over 1,200 agricultural and melioration machines and opened a network of service centers in the country since 1994. Case delivered machinery worth $124 million in 2000 and $24.8 million in 2001. (Interfax)

RFE/RL Renews Broadcast To Afghanistan

29 January 2002

After a nearly 10 year pause, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty restarted broadcasts to Afghanistan on 27 January in the Dari and Pashto languages as part of the U.S.-led war against terrorism.

"This is truly an exciting, and I would add, enriching day here at the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty," the station's president, Thomas A. Dine, said at a brief opening ceremony at headquarters in Prague. "After nearly three decades of war and misery and a near total blackout on information, we believe the people in Afghanistan will welcome the chance to hear accurate, objective and comprehensive news and analysis about local developments."

RFE broadcast in Dari and Pashto from 1985 until 1993, when the service was closed down as part of post Cold War restructuring. Dine said that the station continued to have a sizable audience in Afghanistan nonetheless, among minorities that listened to daily broadcasts in the Farsi, Uzbek, Turkmen and Tajik languages.

RFE/RL will initially provide two hours of broadcasts to Afghanistan daily, but plans to expand programming to 12 hours a day. (RFE/RL)

Turkmenbashi To Visit Bahrain In Spring

29 January 2002

Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov will visit Bahrain in spring 2002. Niyazov and Sheikh Rashid bin Isa Al Khalifah reached the agreement on Tuesday, a source in the Turkmen government said.

The Royal Famil member conveyed the invitation of Bahrain Emir Shikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah. He said that the visit would boost the development of bilateral relations and partnership.

Niyazov accepted the invitation and said that Turkmenistan had established cooperation with many Arab countries of the Gulf. Turkmenistan and Bahrein have repeatedly announced their readiness to develop economic, trade and cultural relations. Concrete aspects of the cooperation will be discussed during the visit. (ITAR-TASS)

Turkmenistan Ready To Participate In Restoration Of Afghanistan

29 January 2002

Turkmenistan is ready for cooperation with interim government of Afghanistan in such spheres as export of the electric power and natural gas, construction of the railway and highways, establishment of air communication. The president of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov has declared about it on the eve, during the meeting with ambassador of Afghanistan in Ashgabat Mr. Shakhmardankul.

As the Public service of news "TDH" has informed, the president of Turkmenistan with great attention listened to the story of the Afghani ambassador, who has recently come back from the native land, about situation in Afghanistan where alongside with measures on internal settlement, efforts on establishment of contacts with adjacent and other states are undertaken. During an exchange of opinions it was marked, that Turkmenistan and Afghanistan have great potential for effective partnership in various spheres. In this connection clear interest of the Turkmen president was caused by aspects of process of political stabilization, as a basic factor of successful realization of the long-term economic projects.

Specific directions of bilateral cooperation will be discussed at a level of the governments. With this purpose the delegation from Kabul will arrive to Ashgabat. (, RFE/RL Turkmen Svc)

German Surgeon Checked Niyazov�s Health

28 January 2002

Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov's health is steadily satisfactory, German cardiologist Hans Meissner said after a planned examination of the head of state on 28 January.

He performed bypass surgery on Niyazov in 1997 and has been monitoring his health since then.

"The examination shows that my distinguished patient has a good cardiovascular system, although his recent trip, both outside and inside the country, may serve as proof of his excellent condition", Meissner said.

He noted the president's endless energy and his optimism.

Meissner also pointed out that the professional level of Turkmen doctors has grown considerably in the last years, particularly in cardiology. For example, the Ashgabat Medical Center performs operations for congenital heart diseases, replace valves and restore blood vessels.

The professionalism and the range of possibilities of Turkmen cardiologists is rapidly mowing towards the world level, Meissner said. (ITAR-TASS,

Turkmen Oil And Gas Corporation Head Disciplined For Poor Management

28 January 2002

In connection with negligence in managing the gas accumulating station (in Turkmenabat [eastern Turkmenistan]), which belongs to the Lebapgazupcuncilik [Lebap gas supply] directorate, and the [northern] Dasoguz main tank farm, which belongs to the Turkmennebitonumleri [Turkmen oil products] directorate of the Turkmennebitgas [Turkmen oil and gas] State Trade Corporation, which has resulted in abuses in distributing oil products and their illegal export, the Turkmen president withheld a three-months salary of the state minister, the head of the Turkmennebitgas State Trade Corporation, Ylyas Charyyev, and transferred it to the state budget of Turkmenistan.

Charyyev is warned that if he does not stop criminal deeds in the organizations under him, he will be dismissed from his post. (Turkmen TV, RFE/RL Turkmen Svc)

Afghan Government Leader Plans To Visit Turkmenistan

28 January 2002

The leader of Afghanistan's interim government Hamid Karzai, is going to visit Turkmenistan soon, the Afghan ambassador to the Central Asian republic, Shah Mardankul, said.

He told Itar-Tass after his meeting with Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov on Monday, that he discussed the "inter-state negotiating process of preparing the visit, the final document of which should become an agreement on friendship and cooperation between the two countries".

The ambassador of Afghanistan's interim government said the Turkmen president was interested to know "processes of political stabilisation which is a crucial factor for implementation of long-term economic projects".

Niyazov said at the talks that Turkmenistan was ready to cooperate with Afghanistan in deliveries of electricity and natural gas, construction of a railway and auto roads, and establishment of air services.

"All these promising projects will be a subject of inter-governmental talks that will take place in the nearest month," Mardankul said, adding that a "possibility of a visit to Afghanistan by a governmental delegation of Turkmenistan" was also discussed. (ITAR-TASS, RFE/RL)

Freed Baptist "Under Surveillance"

27 January 2002

Freed religious prisoner Shageldy Atakov has been warned not to associate with his fellow Baptists and remains under close surveillance by the country's political police, the KNB (former KGB), Keston News

Service has learnt. "Surveillance has been set up around the Atakovs' home," a 25 January statement from local Baptists declared. "Each day an officer makes a visit allegedly to 'wish him well'." Atakov has still not received a certificate of release from prison. (Keston News Service)

Turkmens Constructing Large Energy Facility Near Afghan Border

26 January 2002

The construction of another large-scale energy facility has started in [the eastern] Lebap Region. The 4th mobile construction unit of the Turkmenenergogurlusyk [Turkmen power construction] state concern started construction of the Turkmenabat-Atamurat LEP-220 [220 kilovolt power transmitting line]. This powerful energy unit in the Amu-Darya river valley is being built under a decision by [Turkmen] President Niyazov. Some 1,200 supports, 26m high, made of steel and ferro-concrete materials, as well many other electrical devices, are to be installed during the construction.

A powerful transformer substation, equipped with modern devices, will also be built in the town of Atamurat [on Turkmen-Afghan border].

Apart from meeting the growing domestic demand for electricity, the new Turkmenabat-Lebap power line will also supply increasing demands for exports of Turkmen electricity abroad. The construction of the new power transmission line is the next stage in implementing large-scale investment projects, initiated by the Turkmen president to develop the country's energy infrastructure. (Neitralny Turkmenistan)