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Russian president Vladimir Putin and his Turkmen counterpart Saparmurat Niyazov met in Moscow this week for talks covering gas supply and the seemingly intractable problem of Caspian demarcation.
Russia hopes to sign an intergovernmental agreement with Turkmenistan over deliveries of 80bn [m.sup.3]/yr of Turkmen gas from 2002-12 (FSUE, 18 January, p9). But the two sides were unable to agree on price. Turkmenistan wants Russia to pay $42/`000[m.sup.3], as Ukraine does. But this is unacceptable to Moscow.
Despite the failure to secure a concrete gas deal, Putin suggested to Niyazov the creation of a "European-Asian alliance", uniting …