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Cablegate: Turkmen, Ukrainian Leaders Fail to Reach Gas Deal

VZCZCXRO7931
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLH RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHNEH RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAH #1189 2601127
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171127Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3488
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5689
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 3404
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 3268
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 3932
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1156
RHMCSUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 3915
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

UNCLAS ASHGABAT 001189

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN; EEB; NEA/IR
ENERGY FOR EKIMOFF/BURPOE/COHEN
COMMERCE FOR EHOUSE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EPET PGOV EINV UP TX
SUBJECT: TURKMEN, UKRAINIAN LEADERS FAIL TO REACH GAS DEAL

REF: ASHGABAT 1135

1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified. Not for public Internet.

2. (SBU) Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko visited
Turkmenistan September 14-16, participating in negotiations
with Turkmen President Berdimuhamedov on September 15. As
expected, the two Presidents did not reach agreement on
resuming direct supplies of Turkmen gas to Ukraine, despite
discussions that reportedly lasted two and a half hours.
Moreover, the Turkmen media did not even report whether the
gas supply issue was raised during negotiations. In a joint
statement published in local newspapers, the two Presidents
merely pointed out the importance of cooperation in the energy
sector and various other industries.

3. (SBU) During Yushchenko's visit, he and his delegation did
manage to conclude the following non-energy agreements with
the Turkmen: Cooperation Agreement between the Turkmen
Institute of Transport and Communications and Ukraine's
National Transportation University; Agreement on Establishing
a Business Council between Turkmen and Ukrainian Chambers of
Commerce and Industry; Agreement on Cooperation in the Area of
Research and Protection of Species of Plants between the
Turkmen Ministry of Agriculture and the Ukrainian Ministry of
Agricultural Policy; and a Protocol on Cooperation between the
Turkmen and Ukrainian MFAs.

4. (SBU) On September 16, Berdimuhamedov and Yushchenko
participated in the much-anticipated inauguration of a railway
bridge over the Amu Darya River built by the Ukrainian state
company Ukratransstroy (reftel). The bridge took eight years
to complete and has been a source of bilateral tension between
the two countries for some time. The two presidents also
participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for a highway bridge
to be built by another Ukrainian company, Altkom.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: Although the Ukrainian head of state had
announced a direct gas deal with Turkmenistan as the main
purpose of his trip, the Turkmen did not budge.
Turkmenistan's ongoing gas deal negotiations with Russia, and
Ukraine's unfortunate track record when it comes to
construction jobs in Turkmenistan, certainly affected the
Turkmen decision to leave a direct gas deal with Ukraine on
the table. It's important to note that when Russian President
Medvedov left Turkmenistan last week, President Berdimuhamedov
gave him a prized Ahal-Teke horse. Ukrainian President
Yushchenko, however, went back to Kyiv virtually empty-handed.
END COMMENT.

CURRAN

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