Turkmen leader pledges to build ties with Russia

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The president of Turkmenistan told his government on Friday that the country must strengthen ties with Russia, which he called a strategic partner.
ASHGABAT, March 13 (RIA Novosti) - The president of Turkmenistan told his government on Friday that the country must strengthen ties with Russia, which he called a strategic partner.

Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov met with the Cabinet to discuss preparations for his March 24-25 visit to Russia.

"Our goal is to consistently develop and strengthen mutual relations for the benefit of the two states and peoples," he told ministers.

Earlier this week, Turkmenistan joined Kazakhstan in backing a Russia-led project to develop export-routes for natural gas from Central Asia, through the expansion of the Prikaspiisky pipeline network.

Berdymukhamedov became president in late 2006, following the death of former dictator Saparmurat Niyazov.

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