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Nazarbayev, Putin Strike Gas Deal

President Vladimir Putin and his Kazakh counterpart, Nursultan Nazarbayev, on Saturday reached a compromise agreement on prices for Kazakh gas during a meeting in Sochi.

"We have made significant progress in resolving energy cooperation issues," Putin said at a meeting at his Bocharov Rochei residence on the Black Sea.

"Our specialists have reached agreement on extraction, processing and transportation of Kazakh gas," Putin said in televised comments. "We have also agreed on prices."

Putin did not give any details of the price reached, or specify which Kazakh gas fields he was referring to.

Russia and Kazakhstan reached agreement earlier this year on the development of Kazakhstan's Imashev gas field. The details of the agreement were not published, but analysts believe the field is shared equally by Gazprom and Kazakh state-owned oil and gas firm Kazmunaigaz.

Putin, who was meeting Nazarbayev for the fourth time this year, said bilateral ties were becoming ever closer.

"This concerns cooperation in the transport and energy spheres as well as other areas including national security," he said.

Putin said the two leaders had agreed on "further steps related to the construction of the armed forces.

"We agreed to maintain military-technical cooperation, primarily in expanding Russian military hardware supplies to our Kazakh partners," Putin said, Itar-Tass reported.

"Russia, a strong world power, as a strategic partner and ally, is very important for us from all viewpoints," Itar-Tass quoted Nazarbayev as saying.

Nazarbayev formally took over from Putin the rotating presidency of the Commonwealth of Independent States, RIA-Novosti reported.

Nazarbayev said he was confident that Russian-Kazakh trade, currently at $10 billion per year, would "double" due to the development of the Kurmangazy offshore oil field in the north Caspian.


(The Moscow Times 22.v.06)

 
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