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  For Democracy and Human Rights in Turkmenistan
NEWS 2007 .
26.06.2007, 16:42
United States Woos Turkmenistan

Fast on the heels of US Centcom Chief, Admiral William Fallon, who was in Ashgabat last week and promised to drop in again soon, a state department official met yesterday with President Berdymuhammedov of Turkmenistan.

Evan Feigenbaum, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs discussed a wide range of issues with President Berdymuhammedov and the sides appeared to be making some headway in several areas.

Berdymuhammedov said that Turkmenistan strives for multiple pipelines to export its massive energy resources to the world markets. He said that Trans Caspian pipeline can be considered one of the possible routes.

The Turkmen president praised the role of Peace Corps in Turkmenistan and added that his country could benefit with the presence of more US experts in areas such as economics, law, oil and gas, architecture and engineering and education.

Feigenbaum said that he was visiting Turkmenistan on behalf of the secretary of state. He said that Turkmenistans potential and additional study have reveled new opportunities for further development of bilateral cooperation.

Berdymuhammedov answered that Turkmenistan would continue to promote bilateral relations on mutually advantageous basis. However, he added that Turkmenistan, in its own national interests, follows healthy pragmatism and steers away from politicization.

He said that such and approach of Turkmenistan forms the basis for strategy of more complete and equal partnership with a superpower like USA on the whole spectrum of cooperation.

The president said that today when Turkmenistan has embarked on the path of radical reforms, there is all the more need to promote relations with all the countries of the world, particularly the countries whose experience of development represents both value and interest.

The sides discussed strengthening trade and economic relations and humanitarian cooperation. Urgent questions related to security and democratic development were also discussed. Feigenbaum proposed that Ashgabat and Albuquerque be declared sister cities.

Ms. Jennifer Brush, US Charge dAffaires in Turkmenistan, was also present during the meeting.

Five official delegations from the United States have visited Turkmenistan since the start of this year.

26.06.2007, 16:41
Turkmenistan Abolishes Niyazov International Fund

Turkmenistan has decided to abolish Saparmurat Niyazov International Fund, a discretionary account that was at the disposal of the previous president of Turkmenistan.

President Berdymuhammedov signed Friday a decree On Closing the International Saparmurat Niyazov Fund. The decree was signed under the powers vested in him by the law On Enterprises.

A special liquidation commission will audit the fund and prepare recommendations for the disposal of the accounts and assets of the fund. /// nCa

26.06.2007, 16:39
President of Turkmenistan Discourages His Birthday Celebrations

In remarks made Friday during a meeting of the cabinet of ministers, President Berdymuhammedov of Turkmenistan seemed to discourage the idea that his birthday should be celebrated at official level.

Berdymuhammedov turns 50 on 29 June 2007.

When his cabinet members proposed the idea of celebrating his birthday at state level, Berdymuhammedov said, As an individual and a citizen, I am moved by such an intention. However, as a state leader, I cannot give any kind of orders on an issue which is a personal one.

It was not clear whether the officials would still go ahead with some kind of celebrations despite a negative signal from the president.

22.06.2007, 21:30
Turkmen president conferred academic degree of doctor of medicine and title of professor

Last week, by the resolution of the expert commission on medical sciences of the supreme council on sciences and technologies, Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov was conferred the academic degree of doctor of medicine and the title of professor in the field of social hygiene and organization of healthcare.

According to official information, Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov's long-term scientific and practical activity in the field of health protection of the population was the reason for adopting this resolution. The certificate and the mantle were handed over to the head of state in the main building of the Turkmen State University named after Makhtumkuli during an outdoor session of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan.

19.06.2007, 12:56
EU Backs Central Asia Plan, Rights Still A Concern

EU foreign ministers backed a German initiative to boost cooperation with energy-rich Central Asia on Monday despite concern of activists that it lacks benchmarks for progress on human rights.

The strategy for closer ties with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan was prompted by worries the European Union was lagging rivals in competition for Central Asian energy supplies.

It was endorsed by foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg and is certain now to get a final stamp of approval from a summit meeting of EU leaders in Brussels this week.

The plan notes the need for the EU to diversify energy supplies and calls for regular contacts between foreign ministers of the two regions to deepen ties.

It also calls for a ''results orientated'' dialogue on human rights while offering to support educational development and oil and gas exploration with a view to establishing new pipelines.

Lotte Leicht, director of Human Rights Watch in Brussels, welcomed the fact that unlike early drafts the plan incorporated rights and the rule of law as central issues.

But she expressed concern that it did not include clear measurable benchmarks to make better ties conditional on progress on rights.

''Dialogue without benchmarks will not necessarily be that successful,'' she said. It's a mixed bag and definitely the test will be in its implementation.

Rights groups say the records of all five Central Asian states are poor overall and the situation in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan has worsened since they were under Soviet rule.

Last month, the European Union eased sanctions imposed on Uzbekistan for bloodily crushing a revolt in the town of Andizhan in 2005 despite persistent concerns over rights.

16.06.2007, 23:43
Ahmadinejad: Iran, Turkmenistan determined to broaden all out ties

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday that Iran and Turkmenistan are determined to take advantage of existing potentials to broaden all-out ties between the two countries.

Speaking to reporters prior to see off ceremony for the visiting Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, he said the remarkable work done by the Turkmen president would lead to expansion of relations among countries in the region mainly between Iran and Turkmenistan.

President Ahmadinejad welcomed the official invitation extended to him by his Turkmen counterpart and called the two sides relations as historical, deeply rooted and everlasting.

Expressing satisfaction with taking office of a young and hardworking president in Turkmenistan, he expressed the hope that the two sides would take big strides to meet the interests of their nations.

Calling his negotiations with Turkmen president as very constructive and fruitful, he said the negotiations were held in a sincere and brotherly atmosphere where the two sides reviewed various issues.

Expansion of cooperation on energy, transportation, agriculture, and culture were among topics being discussed by the two sides, he said.

In the joint press conference, the Turkmen president said signing of joint statements and a number of memoranda of understanding for expansion of mutual cooperation is regarded as a secured path to further broaden mutual ties between Iran and Turkmenistan.

16.06.2007, 01:42
Tukmen President officially welcomed in Tehran

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad officially welcomed Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov here on Friday afternoon in the Presidential Office compound.

A high ranking delegation accompany the Turkmenistan president which include ministers of foreign affairs, transportation, agriculture, water, energy and industry and deputy chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers.

The first round of negotiation between the two presidents will start soon after welcoming ceremony.

President Berdymuhammedov is to discuss issues with Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Friday evening, too.

Turkmenistan president is scheduled to pay homage and lay a wreath on late Imam Khomeini mausoleum and will be received by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday.

16.06.2007, 01:38
Turkmen president arrives in Tehran

Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov at the head of a high ranking delegation arrived in Tehran for a 2-day official visit on Friday afternoon.

Berdymuhammedov was welcomed at the airport by First Vice-President Parviz Davoudi and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

Accompanying President Berdymuhammedov in this visit are Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov, Transportation and Railway minister, Agriculture minister, Water minister, Energy and Industry minister and deputy chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers.

The official welcoming ceremony will be held in Presidential office compound in the presence of President Ahmadinejad.

Berdymuhammedov was Health Minister in the cabinet of the late Saparmurat Niyazov, former president of the Republic.

16.06.2007, 01:34
Turkmenistan grants Russia's LUKoil access to 3 fields

LUKoil [RTS: LKOH] head Vagit Alekperov said Turkmenistan has given Russia's largest crude producer the green light to develop three promising fields in the Caspian state.

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov's press service said the Turkmen leader gave his permission during his meeting with the LUKoil CEO, amid strong international competition for access to the country's huge oil and gas reserves.

During my meeting with the president I received the go ahead to start work on these fields. We hope that we can move forward on the project, we are fully ready to develop Turkmenistan's rich deposits, Alekperov said.

Turkmenistan possesses the world's fifth-largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources, and two thirds of its natural gas goes through Russian energy giant Gazprom.

Last month, Russia clinched a deal with Turkmenistan and neighboring Kazakhstan to build a pipeline which will transport Turkmen gas to Russia and onto Europe, in opposition to Western efforts to build a similar pipeline bypassing Russia.

14.06.2007, 11:57
The President gives ministers one month to repair omissions

At a government meeting on Friday the president of Turkmenistan criticized the ministry of energy and industry for failing to ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity and inefficient use of existing electricity supply networks and facilities of Turkmenistan.

Apart from that, Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov pointed to the facts of wasteful and uncontrolled use of foreign reserves by the national air company Turkmenhowayollary.

The president of Turkmenistan reprimanded the deputy chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan, Gurbannazar Ashyrov, for lack of control over relevant sectors of economy and ministries, which has led to the backlog of work of those sectors and ministries.

Summing up the meeting, Berdimuhammedov demanded that heads of all sectors analyze their performance and to repair omissions. As the president said, the performance of each minister will be judged by half-year economic figures.

14.06.2007, 11:54
Turkmen president restores Academy of Science

Turkmenistan's president has ordered the reinstatement of the ex-Soviet republic's Academy of Science, abolished by his autocratic predecessor who died late last year, state media reported Wednesday.

The measure was the latest in the series of reforms adopted by Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov aimed at developing university study and science pursuits that were discouraged by longtime leader Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in December.

In decrees signed Tuesday, Berdymukhamedov reinstated the Academy of Science and a system of granting scholars scientific degrees, the Neutral Turkmenistan newspaper said. He had said in March that he would make the changes.

In remarks televised Wednesday, Berdymukhamedov pledged state funding and ''fundamental'' changes in the former Soviet republic's scientific sector.

14.06.2007, 11:53
Turkmen president appoints officials to ministry of foreign affairs

Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov signed a resolution appointing Vepa Hajiyev first deputy minister of foreign affairs of Turkmenistan and simultaneously relieving him of the duties of deputy minister of foreign affairs of Turkmenistan.

According to another resolution by the president of Turkmenistan, the head of the state enterprise on the Caspian issues under the president of Turkmenistan, Khoshgeldi Babayev, has been appointed deputy foreign minister of Turkmenistan

And lastly, the president of Turkmenistan signed a resolution relieving Gurban Shykhliev of the post of councilor of the Embassy of Turkmenistan in the Turkish Republic (Ankara).

14.06.2007, 11:52
President of Turkmenistan poses a number of tasks on reformation of national science

The Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan held an outdoor meeting yesterday at the central building of the Turkmen State University named after Makhtumkuli. The agenda included issues of further development of the national science. Time has come for drastic changes in the national scientific and technical sphere, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov said.

In his speech the head of state outlined the major areas of development of the Turkmen science and specific measures to be undertaken to fulfill the task. In particular, the Turkmen Foundation for Science and Technology and the High Professional Attesting Committee will be created at the Supreme Council for Science and Technology under the president of Turkmenistan, and master and doctor degree studies will be opened at the higher education and scientific establishments. These innovations are needed to ensure that Turkmenistan's scientific degrees are recognized abroad, Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov said.

We need highly qualified national scientists, the president said. This is to say that we have to set up educational establishments to prepare scientists and teaching staff and to upgrade their qualification. With this in mind we have to efficiently adopt the experience of and cooperate with the leading foreign higher education establishments and scientific-research institutions.

We need to connect all educational and scientific establishments, organizations and enterprises to the global web of Internet. Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov instructed the Supreme Council for Science and Technology under the president of Turkmenistan and the ministry of education of Turkmenistan to start without delay the preparation of a special project.

In order to fulfill the above tasks the head of state signed two resolutions, On Upgrading the Science System in Turkmenistan and On the Activity of the Turkmen Academy of Sciences.

13.06.2007, 11:19
Turkmenistan will reopen embassy in Azerbaijan

Turkmenistan will reopen its embassy in Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, shut six years ago during a dispute over Caspian Sea oil deposits, official media reported.

Turkmen President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliev, reached the agreement at a weekend summit of leaders of ex-Soviet republics in Russia, the newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan said. Azerbaijani officials declined to comment.

Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have conflicting claims to rich oil deposits beneath the Caspian, a long-standing dispute stemming from the deadlock in talks between the energy-rich inland sea's five shoreline nations on its legal status. Azerbaijan is on the western shore, Turkmenistan on the eastern shore.

The Turkmen government closed its Baku embassy in 2001 amid an escalation of the dispute over several oil fields, citing financial difficulties in maintaining a diplomatic presence there.

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have shown signs of improvement since the December death of Turkmenistan's long-ruling President Saparmurat Niyazov.

The issue of the division of the Caspian arose in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union, which increased the number of shoreline nations from two to five. Iran, on the southern shore, has insisted that each country get an equal portion of the seabed, while others want the division to be based on the length of their shorelines.

The Caspian, which is believed to hold the world's third-largest oil reserves, has acquired strategic importance as the United States and other Western nations seek alternatives to Persian Gulf oil.

09.06.2007, 11:28
Azerbaijan, Iran fail to agree on Turkmen gas transit

Azerbaijan and Iran have failed to agree to work jointly on Turkmen gas. A senior official of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR) said that the talks on the possible transportation of Turkmen gas through Azerbaijan and Iran to Europe have yielded no results.

''The talks have been going on for six months. However, Iran is categorically against the transportation of gas through its territory,'' the SOCAR official said.

08.06.2007, 07:47
U.S. official pushes alternative to Russian gas pipelines from Caspian Sea region

A U.S. diplomat praised a new natural gas pipeline in the Caucasus Mountain region on Wednesday, saying it would be a more economically effective route for getting gas from Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to Europe than an existing Russian line.

The remarks by U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs Matthew Bryza reflected competition between Russia and the United States over the export of energy resources from former Soviet republics in the Caspian Sea region.

''We welcome the reality that Gazprom has been a reliable supplier of gas to Europe,'' Bryza said at an oil and gas conference in Baku, referring to Russia's gas monopoly OAO Gazprom. But he said the United States ''favors an alternative that provides some competition."''

Bryza said sending gas to Turkey, the Balkans and further on into Europe via the so-called South Caucasus Pipeline would be 20 percent more effective from an economic point of view than sending it via a Russia's Blue Stream pipeline beneath the Black Sea. For Turkmen gas, the South Caucasus Pipeline, or SCP, would be 50 percent more effective, he said. The SCP, also known as the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum pipeline, has been built largely alongside an oil pipeline that has provided a new outlet for Caspian Sea oil. Azerbaijani officials said deliveries to Turkey via the pipeline initially slated to start late last year could begin this month or in July.

Bryza said that by 2020, the United States would like the pipeline to be delivering gas to Europe as part of the Nabucco line, a European Union-backed project to pump gas from the Caspian region into Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary to Austria and onwards.

The U.S. diplomat expressed hope that the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan, which is the second-largest gas producer in the former Soviet Union and lies across the Caspian from Azerbaijan, would deliver gas through the SCP. An agreement Russia secured last month to revamp the Soviet-built pipeline network that carries Central Asian gas to Russia, and build a pipeline running from Turkmenistan through Kazakhstan and into Russia's network of pipelines to Europe, means competition for that proposition but not a ''hurdle,'' Bryza said.

Turkmenistan's new president, Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov, said Wednesday that the cooperation with Russia would ''in no way weaken'' efforts to develop other export routes, including one that would lead across the Caspian for delivery to Europe.

08.06.2007, 07:42
U.S. Gives Aid To Turkmenistan Border Guards

The U.S. government has donated five mobile maintenance trucks and radio communications equipment to Turkmenistan's border-protection service.

The U.S. Embassy in Turkmenistan says the equipment was donated as part of an ongoing program in which both countries are cooperating to stop the spread of narcotics and weapons of mass destruction. The equipment was valued at 250,000 USD.

08.06.2007, 07:41
Iran, Turkmenistan discuss issues of mutual interest

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia, Pacific and the Commonwealth of the Independent States (CIS) Mehdi Safari and Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov on Thursday held talks on issues of mutual interest.

In the meeting, the two sides explored ways of expanding bilateral ties in all fields including the upcoming visit to Iran of Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammadov.

Safari said that the Islamic Republic of Iran is looking forward to the visit and will warmly welcome the Turkmen president.

Meredov, on his part, referred to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's last-year visit to Ashkhabad, adding that the upcoming trip of the Turkmen president will open a new chapter in mutual cooperation.

The two sides discussed various issues including bilateral relations as well as the documents which to be signed by the presidents of the two countries in Tehran.