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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Two Turkmen Leaders Sacked for Corruption

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan -- Two of the most powerful ministers in Turkmenistan's government have been sacked for corruption and for hastening the republic's slide into economic crisis, an official newspaper said Monday.

Agriculture Minister Paizgeldi Meredov and Oil and Gas Minister Nazar Sayunov were dismissed by President Saparmurat Niyazov on Saturday.

The dismissals were reported by the official Turkmenskaya Iskra newspaper. No replacements have yet been named.

Meredov and Sayunov were recognized as two of the most powerful figures in Turkmenistan's government. They were largely responsible for this small Central Asian nation's two main hard-currency earners -- gas and cotton.

Turkmenistan, a desert republic on the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea, is one of the world's biggest producers of natural gas. Last year Turkmenistan produced about 75 billion cubic meters, out of which it consumed only five or six billion.