Foreign Relations Issues
Since independence, Turkmenistan has taken major initiatives by making national security and economic development agreements. Security agreements have focused on military cooperation with Russia and on border security with Iran and Afghanistan. In the economic area, President Niyazov has concentrated on developing gas and oil exports and the pipeline transport infrastructure, especially in cooperation with Iran, Turkey, and Pakistan.
A recent transportation dispute underscored the urgency of Turkmenistan's finding a new pipeline route by which to send its natural gas to Europe through Iran and Turkey. From February through September 1992, Turkmenistan was engaged in a gas-transport price war with Ukraine that provoked the latter to withhold food shipments. In addition, Ukraine refused to transship 500 tons of Turkmenistan's cotton to Turkey, prompting an ambitious program to build Turkmenistan's railroad links with its southern neighbors.
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