Turkmen President proposes new scheme of electric power supply to Afghanistan.

Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov received today the Afghan official delegation headed by Mohammed Ismail, Minister of Energy and Water Resources of this country. As the Ashgabat correspondent of Turkmenistan.ru reports, the Afghan delegation was composed of Muhammad Ismail, Minister for Power and Water Resources, Muhammad Jalil Shams, Deputy Minister for Power, and Thomas Heinz of USAID Energy Group.

According to the Turkmen State News Service (TDH), a wide range of Turkmen-Afghan relations was discussed. Special attention was paid to the cooperation in the power sector, and particularly to increasing power supply from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan and construction of new power transmission lines.

On considering the request of the Afghan side, Saparmurat Niyazov proposed a new scheme of supplying Turkmen electric power along the extended network of the supply ring, including Turkmenistan-Herat-Kandahar-Kabul-Mazar-e-Sharif-Herat. The Turkmen leader emphasized that the Turkmen side would construct 350 km Power Transmission Line LEP-500 from Mary Power Station to the Turkmen-Afghan border at its own expense. Such approach with simultaneous development of power supply systems in Afghnaistan would allow for up to 800 megawatt of power supply to Afghanistan.

The Afghan Power Minister fully supported the Turkmen President's initiative and stressed that the Afghan side currently constructs separate lines of the system that could become the integral part of the indicated power network.

During the meeting, the Afghan debt for the supplied Turkmen power and construction of power facilities carried out by Turkmenistan in Afghanistan were also considered. Demonstrating the good will and with a view to help the Afghan state, Saparmyurat Niyazov said that he made a decision to slash the debt by 50%. The Afghan side promised to pay the remaining part of its debt by the end of this year, and these funds will be spent by the Turkmen side for construction of the power facilities on the Turkmen-Afghan border.

Discussing the cooperation in water management, the Turkmen leader proposed to construct a joint trans-border dam-reservoir at the Murghab River for the mutually beneficial use of water resources of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. Mohammed Ismail, having underscored the importance of this project, spoke for the urgent necessity of preparing the project.

TDH also reports that draft agreements on cooperation in the sphere of power supply and on construction of the dam on the Murghab River will be signed during the Afghan President's visit to Ashgabat. The visit is likely to take place in October 2006 during the celebrations of the 15th anniversary of the independence of Turkmenistan. President Niyazov extended formal invitation to President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.

Article source: news.scotsman.com

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