KYRGYZSTAN SCRAMBLES TO PREVENT POWER SHORTAGES

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) – The leader of Kyrgyzstan has announced another electricity deal in his efforts to save his Central Asian nation from a crippling power shortage.

President Almazbek Atambayev, who has completed a tour seeking help from neighboring countries, said Tuesday that he obtained a preliminary agreement for gas-rich Turkmenistan to supply up to 1 billion kilowatt hours annually.

Kazakhstan last week agreed to provide 1.4 billion kilowatt hours per year — around one-fifth of Kyrgyzstan’s average consumption.

Kazakhstan shares a border with Kyrgyzstan and should have little trouble fulfilling its pledge. But Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan are separated by Uzbekistan, which has proven an uncooperative neighbor.

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Kyrgyzstan is one of the most economically depressed ex-Soviet Central Asian states and is struggling to cope with shortfalls of natural gas as winter approaches.

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