U.S. President George W. Bush held talks with Turkmenistan's president on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Bucharest -- their first official meeting since the Turkmen leader came to power in his gas-rich nation in 2006.
The West has been courting President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov since he took over from Saparmurat Niyazov, who showed little interest in foreign diplomacy during his 21-year rule.
Bush told Berdymukhamedov during their meeting on Thursday that the United States sought to step up dialogue with Turkmenistan, Central Asia's top natural gas exporter bordering Iran and Afghanistan, Turkmen media reported on Friday.
"Turkmenistan has huge potential in the energy sphere ... and remains committed to its strategy of diversifying export routes on the global market," the state Turkmen Khabarlary news agency quoted Berdymukhamedov as telling Bush.
"This position was met with full support from the U.S. president," the agency reported.
Turkmenistan exports most of its natural gas through Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, which then resells it to Europe at higher prices.
The United States has urged Turkmenistan to find alternative routes for its exports and has lobbied for the rival Nabucco pipeline project designed to link Caspian gas with Western European markets.
Last Mod: 04 Nisan 2008, 17:35