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Turkmen president to visit Moscow April 23-24 - Kremlin

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MOSCOW, April 19 (RIA Novosti) - Turkmen President Gurbanugly Berdymukhammedov will visit Moscow in his second international trip April 23-24, the Kremlin press service said.

Prior to his Moscow trip, Berdymukhammedov has only left his homeland to visit the sacred Muslim cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

"The first meeting between the Russian president and the new leader of Turkmenistan will include discussions on the key issues in the Russian-Turkmen agenda. The leaders will also align their approaches to some international and regional issues concerning the two countries' interests," the press service said.

Russian senior officials have met with the new Turkmen leader on several occasions, including Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and, more recently, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The prime minister's visit resulted in the establishment of a bilateral economic commission at the deputy prime minister level.

Sergei Lavrov met with Berdymukhammedov and his opposite number Rashid Meredov. After the meeting, he said Turkmen officials have reiterated their support for earlier energy deals and expressed interest in diversifying cooperation with Russia.

Lavrov also said the foreign ministry delegations had signed an action plan to align both countries' positions on the Caspian Sea, UN and OSCE cooperation.

Regional experts have detected an upsurge in bilateral activity in recent months taking in to an all time high and predict more economic cooperation in the future.

Berdymukhammedov became president February 11 in the first multiple-candidate elections in Turkmen history, which followed the death of Saparmurat Niyazov on December 21, 2006, carrying nearly 90% of the vote.

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