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Kyrgyzstan To Pay Gas Debt To Uzbekistan

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan plans to pay its debt for Uzbek natural gas by December 1, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports. Deputy Prime Minister Akylbek Japarov told RFE/RL that the gas debt will be discussed by the Kyrgyz parliament on October 30.

Kyrgyzstan's unpaid debt for Uzbek gas amounts to some $14 million. Uzbekistan suspended the flow of gas to the southern part of Kyrgyzstan on September 22, including to the regional capitals of Osh, Jalalabad, and Batken.

In October, the Kyrgyz government paid some $5 million of the debt. Kyrgyzstan currently buys Uzbek gas for $240 per 1,000 cubic meters, up from $145/1,000 cubic meters that Kyrgyzstan paid the previous year.

Uzbekistan provides energy resources to Kyrgyzstan, while the Uzbeks are dependent on Kyrgyz water supplies. Uzbekistan has on several occasions in previous years stopped exporting energy to Kyrgyzstan, souring relations.

Ties between the two have worsened over Kyrgyz plans to build hydroelectric power plants that might reduce the amount of water Uzbekistan would receive from Kyrgyzstan.

Russia's state-controlled Gazprom owns 75 percent of KyrgyzGaz.