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Turkmen President Visits Sofia To Discuss Nabucco

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov
SOFIA -- Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov is on a one-day visit to Sofia that is expected to focus on the Nabucco pipeline project, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

The official Turkmen government website says other items on the agenda are wider cooperation with the EU plus discussion of ways to develop tourism to Turkmenistan.

Berdymukhammedov is due to travel to Turkey on August 27, where he will also discuss Nabucco.

Bulgaria and Turkey, along with Austria, Hungary, and Romania, signed transit agreements for the Nabucco project in July.

EU officials hope Turkmenistan will contribute gas to the Nabucco project, which is designed to decrease the bloc's reliance upon Russian natural-gas imports.

Berdymukhammedov's regional tour comes as Turkmen gas exports to Russia remain suspended in a dispute with Moscow following an explosion in April in the central part of the Central Asian gas pipeline on the border between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Ashgabat faults Moscow for the explosion, saying Russian authorities let the pressure in the pipeline drop without notifying them, thus creating a dangerous situation.

The impasse is to likely to be discussed by Berdymukhammedov and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev when Medvedev visits Ashgabat on September 13 for the final stage of the KamAZ truck rally from Kazan to the Turkmen capital.