Baku Presents Turkmenistan Means to Repay Debts

Azerbaijan, Baku, 3 March / corr Trend I.Khalilova / The Azerbaijan Government has sent Turkmenistan a draft agreement to adjust the debts that appeared in 1991-1992 due to the purchase of Turkmen gas, the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan said.

The decision to develop an agreement was made, within the framework of the first meeting of the Azerbaijan-Turkmenistan Inter-Government Commission on the Economic and Humanitarian Cooperation that was held on 17 January in Ashgabat.

The legal basis for the adjustment of the debt to Turkmenistan is expected to be signed by the end of May, so as to sign it in the course of the year.

Azerbaijan is ready to entirely adjust the debt in cash by the end of 2008, since it is impossible to agree on the goods exchange in the existing conditions (many public industries are privatized). "It is now necessary to coordinate with Turkmenistan the text of agreement so as to determine the date for signing," the Government said.

The representatives of the Ministry of Finance and the National Bank of Azerbaijan will determine the amount of the debt in the process of the development of the agreement, since the sides have not reached any agreement on this issue. However, the Commission has reached an agreement in determining the sum.

Baku believes that Azerbaijan's debt for the purchase of the Turkmenistani gas was USA $18 bln. However Turkmenistan insists that it is USA $56 bln taking into consideration the interest in the payments. Turkmenistan has not taken into consideration the goods sent from Azerbaijan in 1990 in exchange for purchased gas, as they were lost on the way. Baku considers that Azerbaijan is not to be held responsible for the losses.

The correspondent can be contacted at [email protected]

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