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ACTING PRESIDENT WINS TURKMEN ELECTION... Murad Karriev, head of Turkmenistan's Central Election Commission, announced on February 14 that acting President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov won the country's February 11 presidential election with 89.23 percent of the vote, turkmenistan.ru reported. None of the five other candidates garnered more than 4 percent of the vote. Berdymukhammedov was sworn in the same day at a session of the People's Council, AP reported. Turkmen television claimed that the inauguration was attended by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. After the inauguration, members of the cabinet tendered their resignations, although Berdymukhammedov said that they will stay on as acting ministers until the formation of a new cabinet, Altyn Asyr television reported. DK
LITHUANIA OFFERS HELP TO BELARUS IN DIVERSIFYING OIL SUPPLIES. Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus told journalists in Washington, D.C., on February 13 that Lithuania has offered Belarus help in finding alternative sources and routes of energy supplies, BNS and dpa reported. Adamkus said Belarus can use Lithuania's Klaipeda oil terminal and railways to ship oil from Venezuela, Norway, or elsewhere. "Belarus is affected as much as Ukraine by the manipulations of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. This is not aimed at supporting the [ruling] regime but rather responding to the needs of the Belarusian people," Adamkus noted. The Lithuanian president added that he discussed such an oil-supply possibility for Belarus during his meetings with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman. JM
UKRAINE, TURKMENISTAN VOW TO REMAIN STRATEGIC PARTNERS IN GAS TRADE. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko attended the inauguration ceremony of Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov as Turkmenistan's new president in Ashgabat on February 14, Interfax-Ukraine reported. According to Yushchenko's press service, during talks after the inauguration, the two leaders agreed that Turkmenistan will remain Ukraine's strategic gas provider. Ukraine is to import at least 55 billion cubic meters of gas from Central Asia in 2007, mostly from Turkmenistan, at a price of $130 per 1,000 cubic meters. JM