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Niyazov Offered Ukraine to Sign Agreement on Use of Turkmen Gas

On behalf of Turkmenistan and Russia president Saparmurat Niyazov offered Ukraine to sign a tripartite political and economic agreement for 25 years on joint use of Turkmen gas.

As RIA Novosti was told in the press service of the administration of the president of Ukraine, Niyazov stated this to journalists in Ashkhabad after his meeting with president Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine.

According to Niyazov, Turkmenistan is ready to set for Ukraine a fixed price for gas corresponding to the present level till 2028. But for cooperation of Turkmenistan and Ukraine after the expiry of the current contract in 2006 when the volume of the Turkmen-Russian pumping of gas will sizeably increase it is necessary to build, through the three countries' efforts, a new gas conduit on the Caspian Sea coast across Kazakhstan.

As Niyazov said, Ukraine must take part in building the new 1,070-kilometre pipeline with the annual capacity of 30-40 billion cu m in the construction of which it is necessary to invest about one billion dollars.

Niyazov expressed confidence that the already existing gas pipeline passing on the territory of Uzbekistan, and the proposed project will be able to meet the requirements for gas both of Ukraine and Russia.

For his part, Kuchma noted that he "has always advocated a tripartite Turkmen-Russian-Ukrainian agreement on gas".

"We have one pipe and, therefore, have to jointly give thought" to how to boost gas output and the capacity of the existing pipelines, the president of Ukraine said.

"We consider this problem within the framework of the international gas consortium", Kuchma added.

Niyazov invited Kuchma to meet in St. Petersburg at the end of May and to discuss the prospects regarding a tripartite agreement on gas.