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Central Asia's New Best Friends Cement Relations

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov visited Tajikistan on May 5-6 in the latest sign of what's becoming the best bilateral relationship in Central Asia.

The focus of Berdymukhammedov's meeting with Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon was energy and transportation. Those two topics are the basis for the growing friendly ties between Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.

Construction of Line D of a network of natural-gas pipelines from Turkmenistan to China is scheduled to start soon and new line, unlike the previous three lines, will transit (after Uzbekistan) the territories of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan will not receive any gas from the pipeline but will receive transit fees, which Chinese officials have assured Kyrgyzstan, at least, will amount to some $1 billion annually.

Turkmenistan is anxiously trying to sell its gas in all directions, particularly a direction that doesn't lead through Russia. Unfortunately Turkmenistan does not have many options and the Trans-Afghan (TAPI) and Trans-Caspian pipeline projects remain on paper.

To read the full story

Bruce Pannier, with contributions from Salimjon Aioubov, Iskander Aliyev, and Tohir Safarov of RFE/RL's Tajik Service and Muhammad Tahir of RFE/RL's Turkmen Service.

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Central Asia's New Best Friends Cement Relations

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