Turkmenia's President To Make Working Visit To Russia

Turkmenia's President Saparmurat Niyazov is to make a working visit to Russia on January 21, Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told journalists on Tuesday as he arrived in the Turkmen capital for an official visit. According to Ivanov, in the course of January 9 negotiations with Turkmenia's Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov and a meeting with Saparmurat Niyazov, it is planned to discuss the full spectrum of Russian-Turkmen relations in the light of an upcoming visit by the president of Turkmenia to Moscow. Replying to a question concerning documents that might be signed during the visit, Ivanov said that they are now being discussed. According to him, during meetings with the Turkmen leadership the sides are also to exchange opinions on current international problems, the struggle against international terrorism, and development of the situation in Afghanistan and Central Asia. Ivanov noted that Russia considers it "important to know the view of the leadership of Turkmenia" on these issues. In addition, during meetings in Ashgabad, the sides propose to hold a dialogue on the status of the Caspian Sea as well. "We are interested in reaching mutually acceptable accords", the Russian diplomatic chief emphasised. Ivanov expressed hope that the upcoming "negotiations will give further impetus to Russian-Turkmen relations, in which both sides are interested". Replying to questions concerning Turkmenia's neutrality in relation to the situation in Afghanistan and the anti-terrorist campaign, Ivanov indicated that Moscow "respects this position of Turkmenistan's". At the same time he noted that Ashgabad is taking most active part in the anti-terrorist struggle, in particular by rendering humanitarian assistance. "To be sure, we also consider it important to know and take into account Turkmenistan's position on what concerns post-conflict arrangements in Afghanistan," the Russian foreign policy chief said.

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