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    » 08/22/2006, 00.00

    TURKMENISTAN – CHINA

    Turkmenistan: gas pipeline to China is ready



    The pipeline will start operating at the start of 2009 and will ferry 30 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year. China is becoming increasingly interested in the ex-Soviet republics of Central Asia that rank among the least democratic countries in the world.

    Ashgabat (AsiaNews) – Saparmurat Niyazov, the president of Turkmenistan, yesterday announced that a pipeline designed to deliver natural gas to China would be opened by the beginning of 2009. The president of the ex-Soviet republic last week met the Vice-Minister of Commerce Yu Guangzhou, in the capital, Ashgabat, and assured him of the plan.

    Under a contract signed in April, Beijing will buy 30 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year from Turkmenistan over 30 years. No price was given. Yu said he had discussed "the funding of projects involved and the volumes of gas deliveries" with the Turkmen leadership, but gave further no details.

    Chinese interest in central Asia is steadily increasing: in this part of the world, after the collapse of the Soviet bloc, Beijing hopes to build a new "silk route" made of railways and oil pipelines, to channel the wealth of the mountains and the Caspian Sea to the western Chinese province of Xinjiang.

    The agreements the Chinese government is signing with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are also aimed at stopping the "three evils" – extremism, terrorism and fundamentalism – in Asia. But this objective is used to justify other "serious" human rights violations committed by governments in the region.

    According to the international no-profit organisation World Audit, out of 150 nations with more than one million inhabitants, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are "absolutely the least democratic".

    A coalition of ten human rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch, shares this view. In a letter to US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, they said "there is no religious freedom in Turkmenistan" and called on the United States to designate it as a "country of particular concern" because of the serious abuses of religious freedom committed.

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    See also

    05/04/2007 UZBEKISTAN – KAZAKHSTAN
    EU delegation in Central Asia talking human rights and oil
    Three-day talks between the European Union and Uzbekistan end. They follow similar talks with Central Asian nations held a few days earlier.

    30/04/2005 UZBEKISTAN – TAJIKISTAN – TURKMENISTAN
    Cotton in Central Asia: a story of poverty, environmental degradation and labour exploitation


    17/09/2008 CENTRAL ASIA – EU – RUSSIA
    West and Russia vying for allies and energy in Caucasus and Central Asia
    NATO continues its approach to Georgia. Moscow talks about a “Cold war” climate as it strengthens its ties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan try to find a difficult balance between the two rival camps. China takes advantage of the situation to gain important energy deals.

    09/02/2009 RUSSIA - CENTRAL ASIA
    Moscow having trouble maintaining role of "hegemony" in Central Asia
    In strengthening ties with Uzbekistan - and access to its gas - Russia risks disappointing the demands of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The three states are discussing the use of water resources, and waiting to see what position Moscow will take.

    12/06/2009 RUSSIA
    Gazprom’s leading role as an energy giant in crisis
    For years, Russia’s state-owned energy company held a quasi-monopoly position. During this time it failed to invest in technology and innovation, restricting itself to signing high price contracts to maintain its stranglehold over the market. Now it is backing away from contracts it signed with Central Asian nations whilst its pipeline network is aging and becoming increasingly dangerous.



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