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    PM Fradkov to head Russian delegation at Turkmen leader's funeral

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    MOSCOW, December 21 (RIA Novosti) - Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov will head the Russian delegation at the funeral of the late Turkmen leader Saparmurat Niyazov Sunday, the Russian government's news service said Thursday.

    Niyazov, who was declared president-for-life in the Central Asian ex-Soviet republic, passed away at the age of 66 after a cardiac arrest at 1:10 a.m. local time (8:10 p.m. GMT Wednesday), following several years of heart trouble which had been kept secret from the desert nation's population.

    Niyazov's funeral will take place on the morning of December 24 in the presidential palace. He will then be taken to a mausoleum, which has already been built in his home village, Kipchak.

    Following a decision by the Turkmen Security Council, the mourning period in the country boasting the world's fifth-largest natural gas reserves and substantial oil resources will continue until December 28.

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