Five Central Asian presidents discuss closer links

Feb 10, 1998 01:00 AM

Jan. 6, 1998 The presidents of five former Soviet republics in Central Asia have met behind closed doors in Turkmenistan to discuss greater cooperation in their oil and gas rich region.
The presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are expected to sign a joint statement on regional cooperation.
During their 1 1/2-hour meeting, the leaders discussed cooperation in the oil and gas industries, transportation, aviation and communication.
Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov's counterparts congratulated him on the opening of a gas pipeline to Iran, intended to be the first link in a larger chain.
Turkmenistan, which has huge natural gas reserves, is desperately seeking a pipeline network to export its gas to the rest of the world. Until the new pipeline opened, Turkmenistan's only export pipeline ran through Russia, and Moscow is reluctant to have Turkmen gas compete with its own exports.
The other presidents taking part in the summit were Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, Askar Akayev of Kyrgyzstan, Emomali Rakhmonov of Tajikistan and Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan.

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