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A new broom

TURKMENISTAN is opening up to the outside world. The more outward-looking leadership style of the new president, Gurmanguly Berdymukhammedov, has raised hopes of new oil contracts for foreign companies and, possibly, a resolution of the long-standing dispute over the legal status of the Caspian Sea. Russia has consolidated its control over the gas-rich republic's export pipelines, but other countries continue to court Turkmenistan in the hope of securing access to gas supplies. Berdymukhammedov – who won a landslide victory at February's general election – was clearly the ruling elite's choice of successor to former dictator Saparmurat Niyazov, who died late last year. Berdymukhammedov – w

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