Israel is planning to open an embassy in Turkmenistan. However, diplomatic relations have hit a snag because Turkmenistan has delayed ratifying the appointment of Israel's ambassador, because they are uncomfortable with an ex-Mossad (Israeli secret service) official serving in the post.
While Richard Holbrooke was not able to coordinate a meeting in Turkmenistan, another U.S. official, special envoy for Eurasian energy Richard Morningstar did meet with President Berdymukhamedov, according to Turkmenistan.ru. Reuters analyzed the meeting within the familiar framework of energy diplomacy.
According to the Neutral Turkmenistan, as reprinted on Turkmenistan.gov.tm, President Berdymukhamedov has announced a major criminal law liberalization program. The maximum prison sentence in Turkmenistan will be reduced from 25 to 15 years and fines will replace prison sentences for some crimes. This move comes after Turkmenistan faced criticism about its prison system by a number of international non-governmental institutions.
Sad news for Balkan Welayat soccer fans: Balkanabat's Nebitchi lost in the President's Cup finals to Ashgabat's Altyn Asyr.