ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan — Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting with the president of Turkmenistan on a rare visit to the gas-rich Central Asian nation.

Putin on Monday arrived in the capital, Ashgabat, for talks expected to focus on the energy ties between the two former Soviet republics.

Putin’s visit to Turkmenistan came amid a dispute between Russia’s largest mobile provider and local authorities. The mobile company MTS said last week it had to suspend operations in Turkmenistan after a state telecommunications company cut its access to services. MTS said it is continuing talks with authorities in order to extend the permission it needs to use frequencies and other resources to provide services in the ex-Soviet nation.

Neither Putin nor Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov mentioned the row in their opening remarks on Monday.

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