Wednesday, 22 December 2010

22 December 2010 News Digest

Published in News Digest

By Alima Bissenova (12/22/2010 issue of the CACI Analyst)

Baku-Ceyhan pipeline resumes operation after Dec 7 shutdown 9 December The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline has resumed operation after it shutdown on December 7 owing to a leak on the Turkish segment, BP-Azerbaijan told Interfax. Botas, the operator of the Turkish segment of the pipeline, blamed the leak on an attempt to illegally tap into the pipeline. "Oil transportation on the pipeline resumed on Wednesday evening.

Baku-Ceyhan pipeline resumes operation after Dec 7 shutdown 9 December The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline has resumed operation after it shutdown on December 7 owing to a leak on the Turkish segment, BP-Azerbaijan told Interfax. Botas, the operator of the Turkish segment of the pipeline, blamed the leak on an attempt to illegally tap into the pipeline. "Oil transportation on the pipeline resumed on Wednesday evening. BTC is exporting oil in full measure," a company representative said. The shutdown did not affect oil production at the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli fields, condensate production at Shah Deniz or tanker loading at the Ceyhan terminal. Alongside oil from Azerbaijan, in June 2010 the BTC pipeline began shipping crude from Turkmenistan. It also has an agreement to ship Kazakh oil from Tengiz. The BTC pipeline stretches 1,768 kilometers, including 443 km in Azerbaijan, 249 km in Georgia and 1,076 km in Turkey. The pipeline has capacity to ship more than 50 million tonnes of oil a year. The project participants include BP (30.1%), State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR) (25%), Chevron (8.9%), Statoil (8.71%), TPAO (6.53%), Eni (5%), Itochu (3.4%), ConocoPhillips (2.5%), Inpex (2.5%), Total (5%) and Amerada Hess (2.36%). (Interfax)

U.S. worried by corruption in Uzbekistan: Wikileaks 12 December Corruption is rampant in Uzbekistan and the government of the Central Asian state is linked to organized crime, according to U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. The leaked cables reveal delicate relations between the United States and the government of Uzbek President Islam Karimov which provides help for the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. Uzbekistan is one link in what the United States calls its northern distribution network, which brings supplies to Afghanistan through countries including Azerbaijan, Russia, Latvia, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. The dispatches released by WikiLeaks detail one occasion last year where Karimov threatened to cut off the supply link after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented an award to an Uzbek human rights advocate. The embassy was alarmed by the "icy tones" of Karimov's displeasure over Clinton's gesture, the cables said. Diplomats wrote that there were "a number of important issues on the table right now" including the supply line to Afghanistan. In March 2009, an enraged Karimov personally scolded U.S. Ambassador Richard Norland with an "implicit threat to suspend transit of cargo for American forces in Afghanistan via the northern distribution network," according to the dispatches. Norland calmed Karimov down, but warned in a cable to Washington: "Clearly, pressuring him (especially publicly) could cost us transit." Karimov, who has been in power for two decades, has been criticized by human rights groups for a record which they say includes the use of torture in jail. He denies the accusations. Clinton met with Karimov this month in the capital of Tashkent. She has defended her visit to Uzbekistan as an opportunity to push for human rights, while deepening security cooperation. Other U.S. embassy dispatches released by WikiLeaks report "close connections between organized crime and the government of Uzbekistan" and that both public and private-sector jobs are routinely "bought." Many of the leaked documents focus on the Uzbek's president's daughter, Gulnara Karimov, who was described as "the single most hated person in the country." (Reuters)

Kyrgyz diaspora laments laments attacks on street cleaners following riots on Manezhnaya Square 13 December Several Kyrgyz citizens were attacked in Moscow after the Saturday riots on Moscow's Manezhnaya Square, Abdygany Shakirov, chairman of the association of public organizations Union of Kyrgyz People, told Interfax on Monday. "After the dispersal of the rally on Manezhnaya Square, my guys called and said some citizens of our republic had been hurt. No one was killed but they were beaten," Shakirov said, adding that the victims were street cleaners. "Our citizens work in the housing and utilities sector. It started snowing and they cleaned and worked and some were attacked while working," Shakirov said. Shakirov said the recent riots on Manezhnaya Square will negatively impact interethnic relations. "We have been warning our citizens to be cautious, especially after football games, and we warned members of the diaspora to avoid busy places," he said. Shakirov said members of the Kyrgyz diaspora will discuss this situation. "There was an offer to gather the people and warn them about what to do and how to behave, but it may even be unsafe," he said. An action in memory of a killed Spartak soccer team fan started on Kronshtadsky Boulevard in northwest Moscow on Saturday. Later the action developed into massive rioting on Manezhnaya Square the city center and in the Moscow metro. A source in law enforcement said that over 6,000 people joined the procession on Kronshtadsky Boulevard where the fan had been killed. Later about 5,000 fans staged an unauthorized action on Manezhnaya. The OMON riot police blocked those rioting from entering Red Square. The fans chanted "Russia for Russians" and "One for all and all for one". The latest reports say that acts of administrative offenses were documented with regard to 65 out of 66 detained rioters on Moscow's Manezhnaya Square, a source in law enforcement has told Interfax. He said 60 of them will be charged with disobeying the police and three more with gross misconduct. Two minors will have police records started for them. One of the detainees was released without any offenses being documented, the source said. In addition to the riot on the street, about 50 enraged soccer fans on Saturday clashed with police inside Moscow's Okhotny Ryad subway station after officers tried to stop them from attacking a man of apparently North Caucasian appearance. The fans, who were on a platform, saw the man inside a train car and tried to rush inside. After being pushed back by police, they stopped the train and tried to storm it. (Interfax)

Armenian parliament to consider increasing size of peacekeeping group in Afghanistan 13 December The Armenian parliament will hold a special session on Monday to discuss an extension of the Armenia-NATO agreement on the involvement of Armenian servicemen in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, Armenian Defense Ministry press secretary David Karapetian told Interfax. The Armenian contingent in Afghanistan will increase by five men, he said. "Five instructors will be added to the Armenian peacekeeping contingent in Afghanistan for training Afghan servicemen," he said. The Armenian parliament ratified the agreement with NATO on December 8, 2009. So far, there are 40 Armenian servicemen, including 36 infantrymen, three signal corps officers and a medic, in Afghanistan. (Interfax)

Congress of Dagestani people urges Medvedev to amnesty those not involved in terrorist attacks 15 December The congress of the peoples of Dagestan on Wednesday adopted a message to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev asking him to consider declaring an amnesty in the republic."The congress recognizes that extremist and terrorist groups that will never find support from the peoples of Dagestan pose a special threat to the present and future of Dagestan. The Congress of the People's of Dagestan has demonstrated its opposition to the ideology of violence and the understanding of the importance of a dialogue with those who have found themselves outside of society for various reasons," the message says."The congress requests developing mechanisms in the framework of law to amnesty individuals who have not taken a direct part in terrorist acts," the message says. The delegates expressed concern about the growing activeness of nationalist extremist groups in several cities and called for "pooling the efforts of the entire Russian public and authorities to protect the rights and liberties of the individual irrespective of ethnicity or creed." "Various provocateurs should not try to make us doubt the historical unity of our peoples," the message says. (Interfax)

Kabul says NATO air strike kills four afghan soldiers 16 December Afghanistan's Defense Ministry says a NATO air strike killed four Afghan soldiers late on December 15 in southern Afghanistan, apparently mistaking them for insurgents. Defense Ministry spokesman General Mohammad Zahir Azimi said the soldiers had left their base in Musa Qala district, in Helmand Province, when they came under fire from NATO planes.  The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force confirmed it carried out an air strike on December 15 against insurgents in the area. It said a team had been sent to investigate the incident. There have been at least two other incidents this year when NATO troops mistakenly killed Afghan soldiers in air strikes aimed at insurgents. (RFE/RL)

BP reigns over Azeri gas, cables reveal 16 December British energy company BP holds most of the cards in Azerbaijan despite a diplomatic push to diversify the regional energy sector, leaked cables reveal. Azerbaijan is situated to become Europe's answer to breaking the Russian stranglehold on the regional energy sector. U.S. diplomatic cables leaked to the Internet site WikiLeaks and given to London's Guardian newspaper indicate BP is making the decisions in Baku, however. Azeri Energy Minister Natiq Aliyev said, as depicted in a 2007 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Baku, that his country depends on BP "for much, if not most" of his country's natural gas production. Baku, he adds, is "ready and willing to cooperate" with the Europeans but the government can't do much without the energy company. "We can't answer Europe without BP," he said. In 2006, Aliyev expressed frustration with delays on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and complained of problems with getting Azeri gas to Turkey. Baku "can't punish (BP)," the minister said, a 2006 cable states, "BP provides gas production estimates to the government of Azerbaijan, but these aren't obligations, and BP can change them anytime." BP on its Web site for Azerbaijan operations describes the country as "a focal point of the global energy market and a gateway through which international investments reach the Caspian region and beyond." (UPI)

Tbilisi asks Moscow to detain blast suspects 16 December Georgia requested Moscow to help in detention and interrogation of two Georgian and one Russian citizen, which Tbilisi suspects of organizing blasts in Georgia between September and November. “In particular we are requesting them to help us in detention of two citizens of Georgia, who are currently on the territory of Abkhazia, as well as to detain accused [Yevgeny] Borisov and to interrogate them in presence of the Georgian law enforcement officers,” Nino Kalandadze, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, said on December 16. Alleged perpetrators behind the blasts, according to the Georgian Interior Ministry, acted under the instructions of Russian military officer, serving in Abkhazia, Yevgeny Borisov. Kalandadze said that Georgia passed a note to Switzerland requesting to solicit for contacts with the Russian prosecutor’s office. She said that Georgia had also handed over all the materials of the case to Switzerland. Switzerland represents Russia's diplomatic interests in Georgia and Georgia's interests in Russia after the two countries cut diplomatic ties following the August, 2008 war. “Despite tense relations between us, Russia’s involvement in the investigation will be extremely important, since the case involves a very grave crime, it has been qualified as a terrorist act; hence it represents a threat not only for Georgia, but also for the entire world,” Kalandadze said.  On December 9, two days after Georgia announced about arrest of six suspects behind the blasts, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the explosions were “provocation” and “show”, demonstrating “unprofessional work of the Georgian special services.” (Civil Georgia)


Bishkek rolls out coalition government 17 December The government in Bishkek said three of the five parties that secured the most votes in an October election have announced a ruling coalition. Kyrgyzstan had parliamentary elections Oct. 10, six months after supporters of Roza Otunbayeva removed Kurmanbek Bakiyev from power. Kyrgyz leaders voted to nominate Akhmatbek Keldibekov of the nationalist Ata-Jurt party as the country's next speaker of Parliament, the BBC reports. The nationalist party is made of members of the deposed government. It forms part of the coalition with Social Democrats, a party led by a former prime minister that is considered close to Otunbayeva. The Social Democrats are expected to nominate Almazbek Atambayev for prime minister, whose power was increased in a referendum following the coup. The Respublica party rounds out the coalition. Despite modest political development in the aftermath of the coup, tensions remain between members of the Kyrgyz and Uzbek communities in the south of the country, where the deposed president drew his support. The October vote came roughly four months after clashes between members of the Kyrgyz and Uzbek ethnic communities in southern Kyrgyzstan. Supporters of Otunbayeva blamed backers of the deposed leader for stoking ethnic tensions. (UPI)

About ten people from Caucasus detained in Moscow to prevent clashes – source 18 December Moscow police detained several people from the Caucasus and confiscated non-lethal guns and other banned objects for them on Saturday. "As part of preemptive measures to rule out sporadic clashes between radical young people and those coming from the North Caucasus, policemen in Moscow are detaining young people in the city center," a law enforcement source told Interfax. "We have information that about ten people detained, from whom teargas containers, non-lethal guns, screwdrivers, and brass knuckles have been confiscated," he said. The source said the detentions were carried out in light of information available on the Internet about possible clashes and unsanctioned demonstrations in Moscow, he said. "Police are receiving a huge stream of information indicating that actions could take place near Prospekt Mira Avenue, near the Olimpiisky sports complex, the VDNKh metro station, the Ostankino television center, near the Vodny Stadion metro station, on Profsoyuznaya Street, and near the Kievskaya and Smolenskaya metro stations," he said. (Interfax)

Tehran hosts women’s rights conference 19 December At a summit for Muslim women Sunday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called feminism "a cry of protest of crushed women in a capitalist system," state media said. Speaking at the third meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Tehran, Ahmadinejad criticized countries that prevent women from education, the Iranian Student News Agency, ISNA, said. "Women are main victims of the ruling bullying policies, actually feminism is the cry of protest of crushed women in capitalism system," the Iranian president said. On the eve of the three-day conference, Maryam Mojtahedzadeh, Ahmadinejad's adviser on women's affairs, said meetings will discuss challenges facing Muslim women in the world and ways to counter them, Press TV said. Other topics include examining ways of making women more independent in society, both financially and socially she said. Representatives from 30 Muslim states including Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Somalia, Mali, Malaysia, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Bangladesh are attending the gathering. The first biennial conference on Women's Role in the Development of OIC's 57 member states was in Istanbul in 2006. Cairo hosted the second event in 2008. (UPI)

Afghanistan plans to open parliament on January 20 20 December Afghanistan plans to inaugurate parliament on January 20, President Hamid Karzai's chief spokesman said on Monday, more than four months after a parliamentary election marked by widespread fraud. Political turmoil has been simmering since the hotly disputed September 18 parliamentary ballot, with losing candidates holding street protests and tension rising over reports the attorney general's office had asked for the vote to be annulled. Allegations of fraud in the September ballot -- and in a presidential poll last year -- have raised questions about the credibility of Karzai and his government as a partner as U.S. and NATO leaders assess their long-term commitment to Afghanistan. Final results from all 34 provinces were released on December 1 and poll officials had said late last month a new parliament could be formed within a week -- but there has been no attempt to convene the assembly. "I think we can expect parliament will be inaugurated on the 20th of January ... the constitution requires the parliament be inaugurated on the 20th of January, after the period of winter break," Karzai's spokesman Waheed Omer told a news conference. The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has accused the attorney general's office of "irresponsible statements" and warned of a political crisis after local media reported it had called for election results to be canceled. Fawzia Kufi, an outspoken parliamentarian from northeastern Badakhshan province, earlier said she and other members had met Karzai at his palace a week ago and asked him to open the new assembly. "We told him it was the president's responsibility to inaugurate parliament or appoint someone to do it," Kufi told Reuters. "The president promised us he would inaugurate parliament by January 20." Kufi and around 100 other members gathered at the parliament last week and issued a three-point declaration, including a demand for Karzai to open parliament by December 19. Karzai told Kufi he first had to appoint one-third of the members of the upper house -- whose terms have now expired -- and also needed more time to prepare for the ceremonial procedures involved in opening the assembly. "It has been a long time since parliament was working and that is not good for the country but, as long as he says he will inaugurate it, then it is fine," Kufi said. She said Karzai had declined to comment on the reported calls by the attorney general's office for the results to be canceled. Kufi had accused the president last week of instigating efforts to have the poll annulled. Until recently, parliament had largely acted as a rubber stamp, but it flexed its political muscle earlier this year when it rejected several of Karzai's cabinet nominees. Karzai is now likely to face a more vocal and coherent opposition than the previous chamber. (Reuters)

Uzbekistan “cuts natural gas delivery” to Kyrgyzstan 21 December Kyrgyz officials say Uzbekistan has reduced natural gas deliveries to Kyrgyzstan's southern regions due to Bishkek's debts, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports. Osh Deputy Mayor Shukhrat Sabirov told journalists on December 21 that instead of the usual 90,000 cubic meters per day, Uzbekistan is currently supplying 72,000 cubic meters. Sabirov said Kyrgyzstan's outstanding gas debt to Uzbekistan is $950,000. KyrgyzGaz state company deputy head Nurlan Jaildinov told RFE/RL that Kyrgyz and Uzbek officials plan to meet next week to discuss gas-related issues. He said the Kyrgyz side will try to persuade Tashkent to reduce the price it charges Kyrgyzstan from $240 to $140 per 1,000 cubic meters. (UPI)

Tehran planning gas talks with Azerbaijan 21 December Planned talks with Azerbaijan in early 2011 will focus on increasing the amount of natural gas imports, an Iranian energy official said. Asghar Sohilipour, a trading executive at the National Iranian Gas Co., told the Oil Ministry's Petroenergy Information Network that talks in early 2011 would highlight prices and the volume of natural gas from Azerbaijan. He said Tehran was keen to import as much as 100 million cubic feet of natural gas from Azerbaijan each day. Current imports are around 35 million cf. Azerbaijan sells natural gas to the northern provinces of Iran in exchange for electricity. Iran aims to build infrastructure in the north that would allow it to process more natural gas deliveries from energy-rich Azerbaijan. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had called for a swift implementation of the bilateral deals. Tehran said the State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan would sell Iran excess gas to meet Iranian needs. The terrain in Iran's north makes it difficult to distribute power. SOCAR said in October that the reconstruction of two pipelines would give Azerbaijan the capacity needed to increase gas exports. (UPI)

Putin meets Burjanadze, Nogaideli 21 December Russia’s PM Vladimir Putin met separately on December 21 with Nino Burjanadze, Georgia’s ex-parliamentary speaker and leader of opposition Democratic Movement-United Georgia and Zurab Nogaideli, Georgia’s ex-PM and leader of opposition Movement for Fair Georgia. The meeting took place after Putin and two Georgian opposition figures attended a ceremony of opening World War II memorial in Moscow, which was commissioned by the Russian authorities in response to demolition of similar memorial in Kutaisi year ago.“I want to thank you for finding time and arriving at the opening of the memorial,” he told Burjanadze in remarks for the press. “I hope you liked it [the memorial]. Actually you have also participated in selecting one of the options [models of memorial] – there were a lot of them, as you remember. I think it is successful one.” “I very much hope that it will be a good symbolic step on the way towards finding mutually acceptable solutions to normalize our interstate relations,” Putin added. “Thank you very much for those words, which note the significance of bilateral, normal and equal relations between Russia and Georgia. This is very important,” Burjanadze responded. “Of course, there is a desire for this memorial to mark the beginning of restoration of normal relations – the relations, where the interests of our peoples are taken into consideration, the relations which will be favorable for both Georgian and Russian peoples, because, of course, abnormal relations do not promote either good neighborly relations, or resolution of those problems, which unfortunately exist in these relations,” she added. At a separate meeting with Nogaideli, the Russian PM also thanked him for participation in the opening ceremony and said “tragic events” of recent years in relationship between Russia and Georgia and demolition of WW II memorial in Kutaisi were “expression of same political line” adhered by the Georgian leadership. The same “political line”, Putin said, was also observed in some other post-Soviet states. “But I am sure, that under the pressure of common sense and public in those countries, this trend will go down to zero,” Putin said.“Thank you very much for the monument,” Nogaideli responded. “A year ago, when you met me first time we were discussing this issue. Those were the day when the monument was demolished [in Kutaisi], resulting in death of two innocent people. A terrible tragedy of course. It was an act of vandalism and it will not go without consequences, moreover it was Saint Nicholas Day – December 19.” “I think that that this day may become a key to the future of Russian-Georgian relations; not the events of two years ago [apparently referring to the August war] and the event of last year – the demolition of the memorial [in Kutaisi], but this day will become the key to the future Russian-Georgian relations. I hope so,” Nogaideli added. In his speech at the opening ceremony of the memorial Putin said that no one would be able to stir conflict between the Georgian and Russian people and for that reason the future “is for good-neighborly, equal and genuinely partnership relations between Russia and Georgia.” “We are sincerely aspiring towards it,” Putin said. (Civil Georgia)

Afghan Governor: Five civilians killed in NATO-Taliban clash 22 December A spokesman for the governor of Afghanistan's southern Helmand Province says five civilians were killed during a battle between NATO-led troops and suspected Taliban fighters. The spokesman, Daoud Ahmadi, said three women and two children were killed during the clash in Helmand's volatile Sangin district on December 21. He said it was not clear whether they were killed by NATO-led forces or Taliban fighters.  Ahmadi also said seven suspected militants were killed during the battle. The governor's office called on NATO to show greater caution in its military operations.  However, militants are known to try to use civilian death tolls to rally support for their insurgency. NATO says the militants positioned themselves inside a civilian home to attack international forces with AK-47s and a machine gun. The alliance says it responded with gunfire and mortars. Meanwhile, the Helmand governor's office called on NATO to exert greater caution in its military operations. NATO says it is investigating the report of civilian deaths in Sangin. (RFE/RL)

More suspected Islamic militants arrested in Northern Tajikistan 22 December Tajik police and security forces have detained six suspected members of the banned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in the past two days, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.  Officials say the arrest of Dilshod Rahimov, 23, of the Istaravshan district of Tajikistan's northern Sughd Province, led to the detention of five more suspects who acted under his leadership. General Sharif Nazarov, head of the Sughd Province Department of Internal Affairs, told RFE/RL that all those arrested are local inhabitants, as are their ring-leaders, who according to Nazarov were trained in terrorist camps abroad and then returned to Tajikistan. Nazarov added that some 15 suspected IMU activists have been detained in Sughd over the past two weeks. They have all been charged with membership of a banned terrorist group and creating an organized criminal ring. The authorities in Sughd Province are concerned at the increase in IMU activity in Istaravshan. Sughd Province head Qohir Rasulzoda traveled recently to Istaravshan and reminded local district heads that 21 of the 33 suspected IMU members detained in Sughd to date are residents of Istaravshan.  In the past two months, police special units killed five suspected militants in the Isfara district of Sughd. (RFE/RL)

Astana eyes gas pipeline 22 December Kazakhstan could start work on an extension to a natural gas pipeline to China as early as February, a project manager announced. The TransAsian pipeline from Turkmenistan opened in 2009 and relies exclusively on gas from Turkmenistan to meet consumer demands from China. Beimbet Shayakhmetov, the head of the Asian Gas Pipeline venture, told Bloomberg News that a third line was planned through Kazakhstan next year. "We plan to complete the design works in February or March and will decide afterward on the project implementation, financing and construction," he said. The expansion would increase the capacity by as much as 880 billion cubic feet of natural gas and cost around $1 billion to build, the news agency added. Beijing would help finance the project, the project consortium chief added. (UPI)

Turkmenistan shuts UK energy investment office 22 December Turkmenistan is shutting a London representation office responsible for drawing investment into its energy sector as part of a cost-cutting and streamlining process. A presidential decree announcing the closure said the measure was necessary "to further improve and enhance the effectiveness" of the State Agency for the Management and Use of Hydrocarbon Resources, the institution responsible for attracting investment, negotiating and issuing licenses for the Central Asian country's growing energy sector. The former Soviet republic is seeking to diversify international markets for its energy exports, especially natural gas, to reduce dependence on Russia. Analysts said the closure of the London office appeared to be part of a cost-cutting exercise and also seemed driven by the government's need to monitor energy transactions more closely. The importance of the change was indicated by the decree, signed by President Gurbangulu Berdymuhammedov. News of the closure triggered speculation that Turkmenistan might consider alternative locations, including the Middle East, where investor interest in its energy projects was likely to be more concentrated and positive than in cash-strapped Europe. Turkmenistan has 4 percent of the world's proven natural gas reserves and until recently was sending most of its gas to Russia before China offered and built a pipeline and had it operating within a matter of three years. Turkmen gas is likely to figure in planned pipelines to Europe and Iran, including the Nabucco gas pipeline project. Turkmenistan's proven gas reserves are estimated at 869 trillion cubic feet, making it fourth after Russia, Iran and Qatar in terms of gas reserves. Ashgabat plans to produce and export 6.357 trillion cubic feet of gas by 2030 but is suffering the effect of a downturn in European demand and disruptions caused by an explosion that hit a gas pipeline to Russia in 2009. Timely relief came when China built and commissioned a pipeline -- the world's largest -- that transports up to 423 billion cubic feet of gas. The pipeline stretches from Turkmenistan across Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to China and is used also to carry gas to Iran. Turkmenistan has campaigned for an international U.N.-sponsored mechanism to ensure stable cross-border energy supplies and security. Turkmen government efforts are aimed at advancing prospects for participation in the planned Nabucco pipeline, that will bypass Russia, and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline. Turkmenistan is already building a pipeline, with an annual capacity of more than 1 trillion cubic feet, connecting the country's northeastern gas deposits with the Caspian Sea. (UPI)



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