Turkmenistan is discussing the possibility of giving foreign diplomats access to its prisons.

Human rights groups say the authoritarian government is holding dozens of dissidents in its jails without contact to the outside world.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after meeting Turkmenistan's leader in Berlin on Monday that it was "desirable for diplomats to have access to prisons."

Merkel said she and President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov had agreed that foreign ministers would take up the issue.

Berdymukhamedov said his country is working on a reform of its constitution, police and judicial system to ensure that "everybody's dignity is preserved."

He said the Central Asian nation is pursuing an "open door policy."