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EU signs energy deal with Turkmenistan

May 28, 2008 at 9:32 PM

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan, May 28 (UPI) -- The European Union and Turkmenistan signed an agreement to ensure energy cooperation in a move away from Russian energy dependence, officials said.

EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov of Turkmenistan formally signed a memorandum of understanding on energy issues Monday in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, the Turkish daily Hurriyet said.

A statement on the EU commission's Web site said the deal secures bilateral cooperation on the energy issue, as well as technology and transport matters.

EU officials said in April they reached an informal agreement with Berdymukhamedov to receive as much as 353 billion cubic feet of gas annually from Turkmenistan by 2009.

The move comes amid warnings that Turkmenistan faces an energy shortfall if the deal continues and the country expects to honor existing commitments with Russia and China.

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