1 July 2002
WHO Declares Turkmenistan Polio-Free
27 June 2002
The European regional commission of the World Health Organization (WHO) certified Turkmenistan as free of poliomyelitis, turkmenistan.ru reported on 27 June.
According to the Turkmen Ministry of Health and Medical Industry, which recently received the WHO certificate, this is the result of a successful national program aimed at eliminating polio in the country over the last 10 years. The last case of poliomyelitis was registered in Turkmenistan in 1996.
A sanitary code approved by the Turkmen parliament in 1992 foresees obligatory and free immunization against poliomyelitis for the entire population, the ministry's officials said. (Turkmenistan.ru)
Turkmen President To Give Officials' Homes To Poor
26 June 2002
President Saparmurat Niyazov announced on Turkmen state television on 25 June that some 200 mansions confiscated from disgraced former officials will be made available to the socially disadvantaged and families with numerous children, Reuters and Interfax reported on 26 June. Niyazov said he had already authorized a list of people to be resettled in these houses, but ordered that the prosecution agencies, the National Security Committee, and the Ashgabat city hall check again whether these people have been put on the list fairly.
Among former officials whose homes have been confiscated, Niyazov named former National Bank Chairman Seitbai Gandymov and former Foreign Minister Boris Shikhmuradov who, according to Niyazov, possessed four mansions. But "Vremya novostei" on 26 June quoted Shikhmuradov as saying he owned only a quarter-share in one house in Ashgabat that he shared with three other government officials, and that he has no knowledge of the other three residences he is said to possess.
Niyazov said there are a total of about 300 houses in Ashgabat whose construction was financed by illegal proceeds. (Reuters, Interfax)
Turkmen Ambassador Accredited In Afghanistan
26 June 2002
Turkmen Ambassador to Afghanistan Aman Yaranov submitted his credentials to Afghan leader Hamid Karzai, turkmenistan.ru reported on 26 June, citing the Turkmen Foreign Ministry.
During the talks held after the ceremony, Karzai highly praised the level of existing contacts between the two states, emphasizing the role of Turkmenistan in rendering humanitarian assistance to its southern neighbor. He also stressed the development of cooperation with Turkmenistan, especially in the energy and social sectors. The important contribution of the Turkmen president to the process of supporting peace and stability in the region was emphasized as well. (Turkmenistan.ru)
Turkey Shocked By Decision Of Turkmen Authorities
26 June 2002
Turkish TV stations Haberturk, TGRT, Star TV, and other mass media cited sources in Ashgabat, including the Turkish Embassy, in reporting that "by instructions of President Saparmurat Niyazov, mass celebrations concerning the possible success of the Turkish team in the forthcoming match with the Brazilian team in the World Cup [soccer] semifinals is categorically forbidden in Turkmenistan," reported gundogar.org on 26 June.
Niyazov was reportedly alarmed after several hundred people expressed wild delight on the streets of Ashgabat after the Turkish victory over Senegal in the quarterfinals.
Niyazov then issued strict administrative sanctions against a number of law enforcement officials, including Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov, who was stripped of one month's salary "for illegal interference in the activity of Turkmenistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs." This was confirmed by RFE/RL's Turkmen Service on 25 June, which said that the new Interior Minister Annaberdy Kakabaev and Ashgabat police chief Ataev were harshly criticized by Niyazov for letting several pictures of him be burned in public places. Besides the oral "beating," Niyazov fined both of them their June salary. (Gundogar.org)
Niyazov, U.S. Ambassador Discuss Regional Situation
25 June 2002
Saparmurat Niyazov and U.S. Ambassador in Ashgabat Laura Kennedy held talks on 24 June, at which questions of bilateral cooperation and the situation in the region were discussed, turkmenistan.ru reported the next day.
Special attention was paid to the situation in Afghanistan and role of Turkmenistan in economic revival of the neighboring state. Niyazov has emphasized his readiness to render all necessary assistance in the restoration of the Afghan economy. In this context, Niyazov again advanced the question of the trans-Afghan pipeline project and emphasized that it needs to attract large foreign investments and modern technologies. Kennedy agreed with Niyazov, and further declared that "the threat of international terrorism is still very urgent in the world and a consolidation of forces is needed, in which Turkmenistan plays an important role." (Turkmenistan.ru)
Niyazov Says Country Self-Sufficient In Wheat
25 June 2002
President Niyazov said on Turkmen TV on 24 June that 1.6 million tons of grain have been harvested in Turkmenistan, Interfax reported the next day. He added that this harvest would allow the country to meet its demand for wheat. In 2003, Turkmenistan is expected to produce 2.5 million tons of grain, the president said.
The Agriculture Ministry said wheat would be sown on 850,000 hectares in 2003. The government has announced plans to compensate 50 percent of farmers' expenditures on seeds, fuel, and fertilizers, but only if no less that an average of 3 metric tons are harvested per hectare. (Interfax)
Niyazov Promotes Turkmen Hydrocarbons Export
24 June 2002
Saparmurat Niyazov said that plans for the development of Ukraine's trunk oil pipelines should take into account the export interests of Turkmenistan, Interfax reported on 24 June. This followed his meeting with Naftohaz Ukrayiny President Yurii Boyko.
Niyazov said that while establishing an international consortium that would operate and develop Ukraine's gas-transportation system, this project's participants should take into account Turkmenistan's huge capabilities for gas export.
The meeting, which was also attended by heads of a number Ukrainian companies, involved investment projects in various spheres of the Turkmen economy and discussed the current state and prospects for Turkmenistan-Ukraine cooperation in the gas sector. (Interfax)