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.

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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.

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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