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Turkmen Report: August 26, 2002

26 August 2002
'Untainted Pedigree' Required In Turkmenistan For Public Service

24 August 2002

"Untainted pedigree" has become one of the main criteria in selecting officials and state leaders in Turkmenistan, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 August. The "continuity of high moral qualities in several generations" is required by the law on the selecting state officials for public service adopted by the Khalk Maslakhaty (the People's Council), which is the highest representative body in the country.

In applying for public service, a person should submit not only his previous work record, educational certificates, and personal details, but also "information about his close relatives."

Other important criteria for senior-position applicants include "patriotism and devotion to Turkmenistan, its people, and president," as well as "professionalism and competence."

According to the document, applicants will be selected "publicly, by taking into account public opinion, including that of the work collective." The law also requires "mandatory compliance with decisions adopted by higher-tier state bodies, and personal responsibility for the performance of one's duties." (ITAR-TASS)

Minor Cabinet Reshuffle In Turkmenistan

23 August 2002

Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov carried out a minor cabinet reshuffle on 23 August, relieving Deputy Prime Minister and Textile Minister Jamal Goklenova from her duties due to health grounds, RIA-Novosti reported the same day.

Turkmen national television says Niyazov named Ashgabat's ambassador to Germany, Dortkuli Aydogdyeva, to replace Goklenova as textile minister. The Turkmen leader also dismissed Education Minister Annakurban Ashirov and replaced him with Mameddurdy Sarykhanov, director of the National Education Institute. Ashirov was appointed ambassador to Turkey. (RFE/RL Turkmen Service, RIA-Novosti)

Rights Group Critical Of Uzbek, Turkmen Governments

22 August 2002 The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization on 22 August urged U.S. President George W. Bush to designate Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan as "countries of particular concern" for alleged widespread violations of religious freedom and civil liberties, RFE/RL reported the same day. The proposed action could lead to limitations on U.S. assistance or sanctions against the two Central Asian nations, which are both considered key allies by the United States in the fight against terrorism.

HRW said that for nearly five years, the Uzbek government has persecuted individuals who have peacefully practiced their version of Islam. The group said Uzbek citizens have faced arbitrary arrest, unfair trials and torture.

HRW said Turkmenistan is one of the most repressive countries in the world. It said the Turkmen government has outlawed all religions except Sunni Islam and Russian Orthodoxy.

The organization said the U.S. administration is expected to make a decision concerning Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in the coming weeks. The group sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, asking him to urge Bush to act. (RFE/RL)

Turkmenistan Starts Supplying Energy To Iran

22 August 2002

On 22 August, Turkmenistan began exporting electricity to Iran, Interfax and reported, citing sources in the Turkmen Energy Ministry. The daily supplies will amount to 50 megawatts with a voltage of 220 volts.

The exports, for which Iran will pay $650,000 annually, were agreed on during talks in April in Ashgabat between President Niyazov and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Khatami. In the future, the Iranian power network may be used to transmit Turkmen electricity to Turkey.

In addition to Iran, Turkmenistan is supplying electricity to neighboring Afghanistan. In order to increase exports, Turkmen technicians are building several substations and extending power transmission lines in Afghanistan. (Interfax,

Ukraine Proposes To Change Turkmen Gas-Delivery Terms

22 August 2002 Kyiv has proposed to Turkmenistan to change somewhat the terms of the supply of Turkmen natural gas to Ukraine, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported on 22 August.

During negotiations with Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister Yelly Gurbanmuradov, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleh Dubyna suggested adding gas which Ukraine will get for implementing investment projects in Turkmenistan to the approved volumes of Turkmen gas exports to Ukraine. He noted that under such investment projects, Ukraine could get about 4-6 billion cubic meters of Turkmen gas. At the same time, as he put it, if the whole amount of supplies is increased, Kyiv will negotiate on the price reduction.

Dubyna also said that bilateral talks will be held in Kyiv early in September to define the volumes of Turkmen gas exports to Ukraine next year. (ITAR-TASS, Interfax)

Significant Hydrocarbons Reserves Found In Turkmen Sector Of Caspian

20 August 2002

The Malaysian company Petronas Charigali has announced in a press release that its fourth test well in the Makhtumkuli offshore Caspian field has located "considerable" reserves of oil and natural gas, Interfax and reported on 20 August.

Moreover, the results obtained on a contractual basis on the Cheleken territory, where the production-sharing-agreement contractor is Dragon Oil of the United Arab Emirates, warranted the conclusion that there are serious hydrocarbon reserves in Turkmenistan's segment of the Caspian. (Interfax,

Government Signs Contracts With Two Japanese Companies

19 August 2002

Following talks in Ashgabat on 19 August between President Niyazov and a delegation of Japanese businessmen, the Turkmen government signed eight-year cooperation agreements with Itochu Corporation and Komatsu Ltd., ITAR-TASS and reported.

The Japanese companies will provide machinery for the construction of highways and pipelines, including a gas pipeline to link Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and build a network of some 20 small factories, each of which is to produce some 70,000-100,000 cubic meters of liquefied natural gas annually. They will also participate in the controversial construction of a huge artificial lake in the Karakorum desert. (ITAR-TASS,

Turkmenistan Ready To Resume Gas Supplies To Russia, At A Price

19 August 2002

Turkmenistan is ready to resume supplying gas to Russia, but at a price of at least $44-$45 per 1,000 cubic meters, ITAR-TASS reported on 19 August, citing Turkmen Oil and Gas Minister Gurbannazar Nazarov. "Turkmenistan has already invested over $1 billion in pipeline infrastructure in the country, therefore at the moment the cost of Turkmen gas, including transportation to the border, amounts to $37-$38 per 1,000 cubic meters," Nazarov said. In any case, he added, Russia sells gas on the European market for three times that price.

Deliveries of Turkmen gas to Russia were suspended in 1997-98 over price disputes with the Russian company Gazprom, but negotiations have now been resumed. "We are waiting for a reply from the Russian side. Incidentally, we are ready to examine the possibility of partial payments with goods as a settlement for gas to be delivered to Russia," Nazarov noted. (ITAR-TASS)