Turkmenistan’s Acting President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has issued an order to pay Ukrainian contractors not in natural gas supplies, but in currency, according to Itar-Tass. The decision was made on the results of Turkmen-Ukrainian talks held on Sunday at which the sides discussed the construction and financing of vital investment facilities of nationwide importance that are being built in Turkmenistan by Ukrainian contractors, the Turkmen government officials said commenting on the acting Turkmen head of state’s resolution.

The resolution allows the Turkmen Railway Transport Ministry to conclude with the Ukrainian state corporation Ukrtransstroi “an additional agreement on the transfer to the currency form of mutual settlements instead of natural gas supplies as payment for the construction of a facility.” The agreement is related to a contract in effect since 1999 that envisages the design and construction of a railway bridge across the Amudarya River. This facility the cost of which is 123 million US dollars was one of the so-called investment projects payment for which was made in the supplies of Turkmen natural gas.

Aside from the bridge, another such project is the construction of compressor stations on gas trunk lines that is carried out by the Sumy-based Frunze design and production association. The Turkmen government said it will make corresponding decisions on the payment for these facilities.

From January 2006, Turkmenistan stopped direct natural gas supplies to Ukraine that has accumulated a debt for gas it received. The two sides were in negotiations during the whole 2006 on the mutual settlements issues, the same as on matters pertaining to the resumption of direct gas supplies. However, they have not made a decision on these issues to this day. In 2007, the same as last year, Turkmenistan will supply natural gas to Russia and Iran.