Reuters International

BERLIN (Reuters) - Turkmenistan is discussing diversifying its gas exports and selling gas to European Union countries, President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said on Monday at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The former Soviet republic has some of the world's largest natural gas reserves, and it has been in active discussions about sales to China, India and Afghanistan in recent months.

The Turkmen president said his country was also hoping to sell gas to Europe and had been in discussions with EU leaders to resolve legal and technical issues.

"We in Turkmenistan are interested in delivering our energy resources to the West," Berdymukhamedov said, adding that his government had presented the European Commission with proposals for how to proceed.

Turkmen gas deliveries to the EU would come via the Caspian Sea, which will also require approval by Russia and Turkey.

Merkel said she hoped issues could be resolved to allow gas imports from Turkmenistan.

"I hope the problems that still exist can be overcome," she said.

A rapprochement between Russia and Turkey has revived the stalled TurkStream gas pipeline project that could compete with gas deliveries from Turkmenistan.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Andrew Roche)

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