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Long-expected commission ...
Moscow and Ashkhabad to "compare watches" in economy

The Russian delegation headed by Energy Minister of Russia Igor Yusufov arrives in Ashkhabad on September 18. On the next day it will take part in an event, which was expected for more than 10 years. The session of the bilateral intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation will be held in the Turkmen capital.

There is such a habit in the Russian-Turkmen partnership: to solve all main problems of cooperation at the level of two states' heads but at the same time such an efficient mechanism as intergovernmental commission was not enabled. Years passed, governments changed in Russia, new co-chairmen of the commission were appointed by Moscow and Ashkhabad, however no session was conducted because of various reasons.

However the situation improved somehow after Saparmurat Niyazov, Turkmen President made a business visit of to Moscow in January. During the talks with Vladimir Putin it was decided to conduct the first session of the intergovernmental commission this year. Russian Minister of Energy Igor Yusufov and Turkmen vice-premier Ella Gurbanmuradov dealing with oil-gas complex will head the commission from Russian and Turkmen sides respectively.

The persons of appointed co-chairs allow to conclude about the priorities, which are to be chosen by the bilateral commission. There are no doubts that the cooperation issues in fuel-energy sphere will be included into the agenda, i.e. will be given priority. Thus, it is not casual that two deputy chairmen of "Gasprom" OJSC Yuri Komarov and Alexander Ryazanov are included in the Russian delegation. It is expected that possible purchase of "Turkmen" blue fuel by "Gasprom" as well as prospects of joint projects will be spoken about.

According to Russian sources issues linked with Turkmen cotton delivery to the Russian enterprises will be discussed also.

At the same time, the Turkmen sources inform that the problem on settlement of Russian debt to Turkmenistan amounting to USD 107 mln is included into the agenda.

Noteworthy that the representatives of "ITERA", "Zangas", "Zarubezhneft" (foreign oil), "Slavneft" (Slavonic oil), "UCOS" and other companies will be among experts leaving for Ashkhabad which proves that the Russian business is interested in cooperation with Turkmenistan.

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Igor Solovyev

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