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From Staff Reports
General Electric plans to build two power plants in Turkmenistan in an effort to help the desert nation develop solar-power facilities, Reuters reported.
The agreement was reached after talks with GE officials and Turkmen president Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov last week in the nation's capital, Ashgabat.
Despite his country's status as Central Asia's largest natural gas exporter, president Berdymukhamedov said Turkmenistan needs to develop alternative energy sources.
"It is incredible, but in Europe, where there are so few sunny days, they are actively working on producing solar power," Berdymukhamedov told Reuters. Meanwhile, Turkmenistan gets about 360 sunny days a year, he added.
The deal marks a huge policy leap for Turkmenistan, which has long been politically and economically isolated from Western countries and companies. Such reclusive politics were the signature of Berdymukhamedov's predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov, whose dictatorship ended last December after a 21-year reign.
And since Berdymukhamedov's February election, foreign investors have been paying attention to the resource-rich country north of Iran and Afghanistan.
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