State-controlled news outlets in Turkmenistan are reporting that former US president George H. W. Bush sent a letter to Turkmen leader Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, extending wishes for "sound health and successes." The letter was reportedly conveyed by Neil Bush, the former president's son, who visited Ashgabat on behalf of a Houston-based oil company looking to do deals in Turkmenistan.
The state-controlled Altyn Asyr television channel reported that Bush's letter expressed gratitude to Berdymukhamedov "for inviting my son, Neil Bush, to your beautiful country and for receiving him personally despite your heavy work load."
"Let me send my best congratulations and also my wishes of sound health and successes to you," the Bush letter added, according to the Altyn Asyr report. The contents of the reported letter could not be independently verified. Turkmenistan ranks as one of the worst human rights abusers in the world, according to various watchdog groups, including Freedom House and Human Rights Watch.
The semi-official news website Turkmenistan.ru reported that Neil Bush personally "handed Georg Bush's written message to the head of state." Neil Bush met with Berdymukhamedov on February 24. The younger Bush was in Ashgabat representing the Houston-based company South Oil.