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Turkmen President Invites Azerbaijan’s Aliyev To Ashgabat

Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov and Ilham Aliyev at a 2008 meeting
Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov and Ilham Aliyev at a 2008 meeting
ASHGABAD -- Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has invited his Azeri counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, to visit Ashgabat later this month to celebrate the finish of the Silk Road 2009 rally.

The rally, which ends in the Turkmen capital in mid-September, starts in Kazan, Russia, and passes through Kazakhstan.

RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service reports that Berdymukhammedov and Aliyev have agreed to use the occasion to discuss areas of bilateral cooperation.

One of the most sensitive issues in their relations is the dispute over the off-shore oilfield called Serdar in Turkmen and Kyapaz in Azeri. Both claim ownership of the field, which has been explored and developed by the Azerbaijani side since Soviet times.

The Turkmen government has recently threatened to send the dispute to international arbitration and is reported to be preparing documents for its case.

Also attending the final-day celebration for the Silk Road 2009 rally in Ashgabat will be Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has been invited but it is not yet known if he will attend.