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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ukraine Wins Relief on Gas Debt

ASHGABAD, Turkmenistan -- Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma won a rescheduling deal for much of his country's huge energy debt to Turkmenistan during a visit to the former Soviet Central Asian republic, Turkmen officials said.


A spokesman for President Saparmurat Niyazov said over the weekend that Turkmenistan had agreed to spread repayment of $713.5 million in unpaid gas bills over seven years.


Under the terms of an agreement reached in two days of talks, Ukraine is to repay $300 million in installments between Nov. 20 and Dec. 10 of this year.


Part of the remainder is to be repaid in food supplies and part rescheduled under terms to be approved by the International Monetary Fund.


But the two countries failed to reach agreement on 1995 gas supplies.


The talks were attended by James Collins, special adviser to U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher on the Commonwealth of Independent States.


A letter from U.S. President Bill Clinton to Niyazov, published in the Turkmen press on the eve of the talks, appeared to call for the Central Asian state to take a soft stance toward Ukraine over the gas debt.


Ukraine has few energy resources of its own it owes Russia more than $1.2 billion in back payments.