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Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

Putin Hosts Turkmen Leader In Sochi After Caspian Summit

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has hosted the leader of Turkmenistan for talks following the long-awaited signing of a new convention on the legal status of the resource-rich Caspian Sea.

At the start of his meeting with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Putin said on August 15 that he would like to discuss “all issues that are of interest for bilateral relations” following the signing of the agreement.

“We have always built our relations based on mutual respect, so we are really doing a lot to promote our cooperation,” the Turkmen leader said.

Ahead of the informal meeting, the Kremlin said the talks would touch upon the “entire range of bilateral relations,” including a “possible energy dialogue.”

The Sochi meeting came three days after an August 12 summit in Kazakhstan’s port city of Aqtau during which Putin, Berdymukhammedov, and the presidents of Azerbaijan, Iran, and Kazakhstan signed a new convention on the legal status and delimitation of the oil- and gas-rich Caspian Sea — a matter disputed by the five littoral states for more than 20 years.

The talks also followed the signing of a “strategic partnership” agreement between Russia and Turkmenistan in Ashgabat in October 2017.

Ties between the two countries have been strained by disputes over the issue of natural-gas supplies.

Russia has suspended gas purchases from Turkmenistan for years, citing contract violations by Turkmenistan, while the Central Asian former Soviet republic supplied China with its fuel.

Turkmenistan casts itself as a neutral country and is not a member of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union or the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which include other former Soviet republics in Central Asia.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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