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Central Asian gas will go through Russia, eventually

The proposed Caspian Sea gas pipeline is the focus of talks between Russia and Turkmenistan in Ashgabat. PM Viktor Zubkov will represent Russia at the CIS heads of government forum.

Moscow hopes to sign a final deal on the Caspian project during the summit.  Zukbov and Gazprom Chairman Aleksey Miller are planning to hold talks with the Turkmen leadership.

The Moscow-backed pipeline will send Turkmen gas to Europe via Russia.

The pipeline is a rival to the Nabucco pipeline proposed by the West, which would bypass Russia.

A declaration on the strategic pipeline was agreed by Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan in May this year.

Speaking at the summit in Ashgabat, Turkmen president Gurbangul Berdimukhammedov said the pipeline was necessary for the country to fulfil its export commitments.

“Today Turkmenistan exports gas to Russia and Iran and we will start deliveries to China in 2009. Earlier this year we signed a trilateral contract on the Pre-Caspian pipeline between Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan,” Berdimukhammedov said.