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Turkmen Report: September 23, 2002

23 September 2002
Turkmenistan Participates In 'Dialog Eurasia' Conference
21 September 2002

People living in Eurasia must stand up and fight against the negative impact of globalization and counteract it with national achievements in cinematography, theater, music, and folk traditions, says the final document of the Dialog Eurasia international conference that ended in Antalya, Turkey on 21 September, ITAR-TASS reported the next day.

It brought together intellectuals from 13 European and Asian countries, including Turkey, Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine. The exchange of views focused on the political, economic, social, and cultural change that globalization had brought to each particular country and the planet as a whole.

The process of globalization had both positive and negative sides, the conference stressed, indicating that attempts by one country to impose its vision of the world, philosophy, and culture on other countries undermined the ethnic self-identity of Eurasian people. The next "Dialog Eurasia" conference will be held at Yalta, Ukraine, next year.

Turkmen President Fires Central Bank Chief
20 September 2002

Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov fired the central bank chief after accusing him of involvement in the embezzlement of millions of dollars, AP reported on 20 September. A statement from Niyazov's office said Central Bank Chairman Imamdurdy Gandymov was dismissed "for serious flaws in his work, abuse of power, and in connection with criminal proceedings which have been started against him." Niyazov said a bank official, Arslan Kakaev, had transferred $42 million from Turkmenistan's Central Bank to several foreign bank accounts. In other words, Niyazov said, "he has simply stolen it." The National Security Ministry is tracking down Kakaev and the stolen money. Niyazov has appointed Shakersoltan Mukhammedova as acting Central Bank chief.

Russia To Help Develop Turkmen Hydrocarbon Fields
19 September 2002

Russian Energy Minister Igor Yusufov said his country will help develop oil and gas resources in Turkmenistan's section of the Caspian Sea and in western portions of the desert country, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. Yusufov made the comments on 19 September after talks with Turkmen officials in Ashgabat. He said a Russian-Turkmen intergovernmental commission has reached agreement on shipping Turkmen natural gas via a Soviet-era pipeline that runs through Kazakhstan and Russia.

Yusufov also said that starting in 2005, Russia will purchase 10 billion cubic meters of gas from Turkmenistan annually. No mention was made of the price Russia will pay, but Turkmen Minister of the Petrochemical Industry and Natural Resources, Kurbannazar Nazarov, told journalists in Ashgabat last month that the price will be not less than $44-$45 per 1,000 cubic meters.

Yusufov also said that Russian purchases will not affect shipments bound for Ukraine, although the gas will travel to both Russia and Ukraine via the same pipeline.

Gazprom To Reconstruct Gas Pipeline In Western Turkmenistan
19 September 2002

Russia's gas giant Gazprom plans to reconstruct the Central Asia-Center III gas pipeline in western Turkmenistan, Interfax reported on 19 September. The present-day capacity of the pipeline is about 10 million cubic meters of gas a day. "Turkmenistan and Russia intend to legalize their long-term gas partnership," Gazprom Deputy Chief Executive Yuri Komarov said after a meeting between a Russian governmental delegation and Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov. "This is a matter of rather large supplies of Turkmen gas before 2020. The projects will require sizable investments and an upgraded interstate gas pipeline system," he said.

The long-term contract will enable Russia and Turkmenistan to finance the modernization of old gas pipelines and the construction of new ones, Komarov said. "A potent and widespread network will make it possible to transport Turkmen gas from the Caspian fields, as well," he said.

Russian Edition Of Niyazov's 'Rukhnama' Presented In Moscow
18 September 2002

The presentation of "Rukhnama," the book purported to have been written by Saparmurat Niyazov, was held in the reception hall of the Turkmen Embassy in Moscow on 18 September, RIA-Novosti reported the same day.

According to the Turkmen ambassador in Moscow, Halnazar Agakhanov, the book is focused not only on the dramatic history of the Turkmen people, but also on their current life. "This book presents the vision of the national leader directed to the future of the nation, which despite all the difficulties returns to its sources and revives its moral traditions," the ambassador said. The book is entitled "Rukhnama," which means "spiritual precept" or just "spirituality." The ambassador pointed out that the book has been already translated into English, Arabic, Turkish, and a number of other languages. "And now any Russian reader can get acquainted with its contents. We hope that the book will contribute to a more objective understanding of our history, mentality, good faith, and will promote consolidation and development of friendly and mutually beneficial relations with all countries of the planet, without any exception, and of course with our neighboring countries, first of all with great Russia, whose partnership has always been and will be appreciable for us," Agakhanov underlined. Deputies of the Russian State Duma, representatives of scientific organizations as well as representatives of the Russian community and international organizations accredited in Moscow took part in the presentation.

Niyazov Receives An Unusual Present
17 September 2002

Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze has given his Turkmen counterpart Saparmurat Niyazov a six-month-old Caucasian bear cub, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 September.

The unusual present came together with a letter from Shevardnadze which said that "the bear is a symbol of strength and might, which are characteristic of presidential power in Turkmenistan." The bear cub was brought by a special flight from Tbilisi and was handed over to the administration of the Turkmen president on 16 September. He will most likely be kept in a country residence of Niyazov that is situated on the foothills of Kopetdag.

One more present came to Turkmenistan from Georgia on 17 September. It was a portrait of Saparmurat Niyazov made by well-known painter Zurab Tsereteli. Peter Chkheidze, who was recently appointed Georgian ambassador to Turkmenistan, gave it to the Turkmen president. (ITAR-TASS)

Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan Agree On Gas Pipeline
16 September 2002

Representatives of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan agreed in the Afghan capital Kabul on 16 September to build a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan at a cost of more than $2 billion, dpa and AFP reported.

Asian Development Bank representative Seethapathy Chander said after a conference in the Afghan capital Kabul that financing arrangements will start a year from next June and construction is to begin soon afterwards. The 1,500-km pipeline has been under discussion for at least 10 years, but has been blocked by conflict in Afghanistan, and by regional and global friction. Afghan Minister for Mines and Industry Joma Mohammad Mohammadi said the pipeline will benefit Afghanistan financially and help bring political stability to the region.

U.S. President Addresses Letter Of Gratitude To Niyazov
12 September 2002

U.S. President George W. Bush addressed a letter to his Turkmen counterpart Saparmurat Niyazov on 12 September, expressing appreciation to the Turkmen leader and people of Turkmenistan for the important role they are playing in "the campaign to free the world of terrorism," RFE/RL reported on 24 September. Despite the fact that the terror acts of 11 September were targeted at the United States, "terrorism threatens the entire international community and undermines the prospect of people everywhere to live in peace, freedom and prosperity," the U.S. president said.

"Turkmenistan has chosen an important path of peace and rejected those who believe that greatness can be achieved through destruction," Bush wrote. "We will achieve greatness together by helping to build a world that values its people and gives them a future of freedom and hope," the U.S. president concluded. (RFE/RL Turkmen Service)