Turkmenistan delegation visits France to discuss gas pipeline
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An official delegation from Turkmenistan was to visit France on Friday to discuss economic ties, notably the construction of a pipeline to transport gas from the central Asian country to Europe.
The former Soviet republic has limited contact with the rest of the world and has been criticised by Amnesty International for its human rights record, but France, like China and some Western countries, is interested in its reserves of natural gas, the fifth-largest in the world.
The visit is to boost economic and trade ties, a Turkmen source told the AFP news agency, and both countries are interested in the construction of a pipeline under the Caspian Sea to transport gas to Europe.
At present Russia - with whom relations have proved rocky, most recently over the Ukraine crisis - is the European Union’s largest supplier of gas and oil.
Several French companies, including construction firms Bouygues and Vinci, and hotelier Accor have already won contracts in Turkmenistan.