Books on Turkmenistan
Update No: 293 - (27/05/05)
Niyazov goes to Moscow
Turkmen President, Saparmurat Niyazov, is something of a recluse. The small-time
dictator does not attend meetings of the various international organisations to
which his country belongs, doubtless fearing removal in his absence.
But for once he felt he had to go abroad in early May. He arrived in Moscow on
May 8th to attend festival events marking the 60th anniversary of V-Day and an
informal summit of heads of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
He also held a number of bilateral meetings, his chief reason probably for
going. Niyazov met with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President
Victor Yushchenko and the head of the Russian LUKoil company, Vagit Alekperov.
Each side discussed prospects of bilateral cooperation.
During the meeting, Alekperov stressed that Turkmenistan, which has huge energy
reserves, was of great interest for business circles in both Russia and the
world as a whole. The president of LUKoil said his company would soon submit a
programme of cooperation in exploration of oil and gas fields on the Turkmen
shelf of the Caspian Sea for consideration by the leadership of Turkmenistan.
Another meeting was held between Niyazov and Chinese President, Hu Jintao.
According to the press service of the Turkmen leader, the whole complex of
issues of bilateral partnership was discussed during the meeting. "Feeling
great respect for you and the Turkmen people as a whole, I would like to invite
you to pay an official visit to the People's Republic of China," Hu said
during the meeting.
The example to be avoided
It is for certain that Turkmenbashi, as he likes to be known as, is immensely
alarmed at events in Kyrgyzstan and now neighbouring Uzbekistan. The masses are
restive and are showing their power. Could it happen in Turkmenistan?
'No' is the probable answer. The regime is simply too repressive to allow it,
even more repressive than in Uzbekistan. There are tens of thousands of
political prisoners, while the much smaller population makes it easier to
police. There is nothing like the swarming Ferghana Valley, which is where all
the trouble began for first the Kyrgyz regime and then the Uzbek one.
Turkmenistan records 20% economic growth in 4 months
Still, it is always a good idea to put a gloss on things, especially as high
energy prices are working in the regime's favour here right now.
The results of the socio-economic development of Turkmenistan in January-April
2005 were discussed on May 6th. Chairing the session, President Niyazov noted
the sustainable development of Turkmenistan's economy.
He said gross domestic product (GDP) increased 20% in the four months, while the
state's foreign trade surplus reached US$495m, demonstrating the national
Niyazov also announced Turkmenistan will establish a new production of metalware
from metal scrap on the basis of the Ashgabat oil machine-building factory
within the framework of discussions of prospects of the further realisation of
the country's economic potential.
He assessed positively the favourable trends in stock raising, where livestock
rose to 17m heads, in construction, transport and communication fields.
Commenting on the situation in the oil and gas field that reported a slight,
1.5-2 per cent decrease in oil refining, Niyazov criticised the leadership of
this sector and reprimanded Elly Guranmuradov, the deputy premier in charge of
this sector. Niyazov urged that the leadership of the oil and gas sector speed
up the work on the development of hydrocarbon fields discovered by geologists,
in Yolatan district of Mary region.
Niyazov also spoke on the issues related to the further development of
Turkmenistan's network of high-class highways. He instructed the Motor Transport
and Roads Minister Baymuhammed Kelov to complete the construction of Ashgabat -
Mary highway in one year and also assured that the government would provide all
necessary resources taking into account the importance of this transport
Russia bests Ukraine
The Russian conglomerate, Gazprom, has seemingly outmanoeuvred Ukrainian
competitors, securing access to Turkmenistan's vast reserves of natural gas - at
least for now. During a recent visit to Ashgabat, Gazprom chairman Alexei Miller
and Turkmen leader Saparmurat Niyazov resolved a pricing dispute, clearing the
way for the resumption of gas exports to Russia.
While Russia would seem to have the upper hand in the struggle over Turkmen
energy, Niyazov's fickle nature virtually ensures that the geo-economic
manoeuvring will continue.
Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan reach pipe deal
A proposed trans-Afghanistan gas pipeline running from Turkmenistan to Pakistan
was given the go ahead recently by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) which
declared that the multi-billion dollar project was feasible, Deutsche
Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.
"This is good news for all the 3 countries," Pakistani Petroleum
Minister Amanullah Jadoon told reporters after a meeting attended by Turkmen Oil
and Gas Minister Amangelgi Pudakov and Afghan Engineering Minister Mir Mohammad
Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz who chaired the meeting said the 1,600km
long gas pipeline would improve ties and strengthen regional cooperation.
One of the major hurdles to undertaking the project was the quantity of gas
reserves in Turkmenistan's Daulatabad field. Pakistan insisted the project would
be profitable only if it provided 3bn cubic feet of gas supply every day.
The security of the proposed project, in view of the volatile situation in
Afghanistan, was another major concern of the planners.
Experts observe the project could ultimately be extended to India as well where
energy requirements are increasing by 27% each year.
Turkmenistan ready for broader ties with EU
Turkmen President, Saparmurat Niyazov, recently expressed Turkmenistan's
readiness to continue the work on strengthening and developing the partnership
with the European Union, the Turkmen leader said during his meeting with the
visiting Ashgabat Deputy Director General of the EU Commission (EUC) on external
relations, Michael Lee, Interfax News Agency reported.
Niyazov's press service said that during the meeting both parties discussed the
present situation, key avenues of cooperation and prospects for expanding
contacts between Central Asian nations, among them Turkmenistan and the EU are
also included. "Turkmenistan is committed to vigorous and constructive
cooperation with major international organisations if such contacts are guided
by the principle of equality and respect for each other's interests," the
press service said. Niyazov also told Lee about Turkmenistan's democratic
processes and plans to hold elections, including the country's presidential vote
in 2009, the press service said. After the meeting, the EU official told
Interfax that a large number of topics were discussed and the meeting was highly
Among other issues, the meeting's agenda involved energy supplies, roads,
relations between Central Asia and the EU, the TASIS programme and ways to
increase the volume of air traffic between Central Asia and the EU, Lee added.
The TASIS programme, being successfully carried out in Turkmenistan, was cited
as a clear example of this cooperation within the framework of which many
important projects were implemented. The European countries remain the largest
trade partners of Turkmenistan.
Niyazov authorises contract with Huawei Technologies
Turkmen president, Saparmurat Niyazov, signed a decree on May 2nd authorising
the Turkmen Communication Ministry to sign a contract worth 2.5m Euro with the
Chinese company, Huawei Technologies Investment Co Ltd. According to the decree,
the Chinese company will supply transmission units, equipment for an automatic
telephone station and fibre optic cable to be used to implement a project on the
construction of the fibre optic line Ashgabat - Dashoguz. Turkmen communication
workers have recently implemented a number of projects on the expansion of the
telephone network of Ashgabat and development of cellular-phones. Meanwhile,
Niyazov is expected to have a number of bilateral meetings, including with the
head of the People's Republic of China, Hu Jintao, within the framework of his
visit to Moscow to participate in the CIS summit and celebrations marking the
60th anniversary of V-Day, the Chinese embassy in Russia said, turkmenistan.ru
The current state and prospects of development of the Chinese-Turkmen relations
as well as international and regional issues of mutual interest are expected to
be discussed at the meeting.