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ALMATY (Reuters) - The United States promised Kazakhstan on Friday to help it bring its armed forces up to NATO standards in a new military cooperation pact certain to irritate Russia, Kazakhstan's former Soviet overlord.
Kazakhstan's ties with Moscow have cooled over the past year as the energy-rich Central Asian state -- the biggest economy in the region and home to some of the world's largest oil fields -- seeks to pursue a more independent diplomacy.
Originally posted by deltaboy
The Russians already done it by selling weapons to Venezuela. Think of it as a retaliation for that.
MOSCOW: Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan signed an agreement Thursday to build a natural gas pipeline along the Caspian Sea coast that would strengthen Moscow's monopoly on energy exports from the resource-rich region.
But the plan also delivers a strong blow to Western hopes of securing alternate energy export routes.
The deal, which follows a preliminary agreement reached in May, ended months of tense arguments over the price of gas supplies.
"We have just signed an extremely important agreement between Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan on building the Caspian pipeline," Russia's President Vladimir Putin said. "It will become a new, important contribution of our nations into strengthening the European energy security."
The agreement was signed after Putin's talks in the Kremlin with President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan and their conference call with Turkmen President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov.
By JUDY DEMPSEY
Published: December 21, 2007
Desperate to meet growing domestic and European demand, Russia signed a deal Thursday with the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to build a natural gas pipeline along the Caspian Sea, a move that analysts said could strengthen Russia’s monopoly on energy exports from the region.
The deal was signed in the Kremlin by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and President Nursultan A. Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan during a conference call with President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov of Turkmenistan.