Ashgabat and Kiev have agreed to sign a contract on Turkmen natural gas supplies for 2006 before the end of 2005, the Turkmen president’s press office reported after the talks between Saparmurat Niyazov and visiting Ashgabat Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Ivan Plachkov and Naftogaz Ukrainy Chairman Olexei Ivchenko. reports, the meeting was preceded by a telephone talk between the heads of two states, in which Victor Yushchenko informed Saparmurat Niyazov that he sent a delegation to the Turkmen capital to discuss the issue of natural gas supplies to Ukraine in 2006 and asked the President of Turkmenistan to receive the Ukrainian representatives.

According to the State news service Turkmendowlethabarlary (TDH), in the course of the meeting between Saparmurat Niyazov, Ivan Plachkov and Olexei Ivchenko, which was held in a businesslike atmosphere, a wide range of issues related, first of all, to the delivery of Turkmen natural gas to Ukraine in 2006 and fulfillment of Ukraine's commitments on payments for gas supplies were discussed. Having expressed interest in further strengthening and expanding long-term mutual cooperation, the Ukrainian minister and the head of Naftohaz Ukrayiny national company reported to the Turkmen leader on the state of payments for the Turkmen gas delivered in 2005. As the guests said, the Ukrainian side has been strictly fulfilling all obligations on cash payments and has slightly improved payments in goods.

The main issue of the talks was the prices for natural gas, taking into account a decision which was adopted several months earlier by Ashgabat on raising prices for gas supplies in 2006 from US $ 44 to US $ 60 per cubic meter on the Turkmen border. The decision also envisages relevant agreements with the transit country, Russia. Having expressed their desire to continue the efficient cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit, the sides agreed on preparation of a relevant agreement and signing it by the end of the current year.

In an interview with local journalists after the meeting with the Turkmen President Ivan Plachkov said “the talks were very constructive” and expressed to Saparmurat Niyazov “sincere gratitude for Turkmenistan’s adherence to relations of friendship, mutual understanding and cooperation with Ukraine.”

Rating the results of the talks on Turkmen natural gas supplies as very positive, the Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister also said he had presented the head of Turkmenistan with stamps produced in Ukraine dedicated to the 10th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s neutrality. As Ivan Plachkov said, in all, there would be produced some 50,000 stamps as a gift to the Turkmen state from the President and people of Ukraine.


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