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AZERBAIJAN


  
  

 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 7,124 6,090 5,600 102
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 810 710 650 146
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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Update No: 349 - (25/12/09)

Ankara backtracks on accord with Yerevan
The normalisation of Armenian-Turkish relations before the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would undoubtedly be an utterly major event for the Azeris. But it has not yet happened; it looks far from a certainty, despite an accord in October that seemed then to portend it.

At the time it was thought otherwise. “It runs counter to Azerbaijan’s interests and casts a shadow on fraternal relations with Turkey,” says a statement issued by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of the signing of the Armenian-Turkish Protocols in Zurich, Switzerland in mid-October.

But the Turks are bargaining hard, with their Azeri allies in mind. They have yet to lift the trade embargo with Armenia, stipulating that the Armenians must retreat from that part of Azerbaijan they are occupying, notably the Lachin corridor.

In an interview with the AZ-TV channel, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated at the time that the Armenian side would present any premature reopening of the Armenian-Turkish border as a diplomatic success and take a harder line on Nagorno-Karabakh. “We have sufficient grounds to assert this. The events at different stages of the negotiations are evidence thereof,” Aliyev said. “I am sure that both the processes – the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process and the Armenia-Turkey normalization process – must be simultaneous,” Aliyev said. Ankara seems to have taken note.

The Azeri leader stated that “although there is no formal link between them, they are informally linked. This link must be preserved, and both the processes must be simultaneous. Otherwise, the status quo may change for the worse in the region.”

“It was immediately after the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan that the Turkish-Armenian border was closed. And any talks about the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations are groundless before the occupied territories of Azerbaijan are vacated. However, the processes taking place in the region and superpowers’ involvement in them are supposed to produce a positive impact on the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process. I believe it will be so. The Azerbaijani-Turkish relations are at a most high level. I believe the Turkish leaders’ promises and I am sure that the Turkish-Armenian border will not be opened before the Nagorno-Karabakh problem has been resolved,” Aliyev said.

“It is common knowledge that it was the occupation of the Kelbajar region of Azerbaijan that was the only and main reason why the Turkish-Armenian border was closed. The border has remained closed until now. Of course, the border can be opened after the problem has been resolved. This is our position. The Turkish leaders have repeatedly stated their position on this matter as well. I hope this position will be given priority, and this factor will be taken into account in the practical implementation of the Protocols,” Aliyev said.

Turkish PM has discussed the Nabucco gas pipeline project with US President Barack Obama as part of his visit to Washington.

Turkey is intimately involved in Azerbaijan's efforts to market its oil and gas westwards. Nabucco, for instance, is planned to be a 3,300-kilometre (2,050-mile) pipeline running from the Caspian Sea via Turkey and the Balkan states to Austria.

After the meeting Erdogan told a press-conference that as the main transit country through which the pipeline will run, his country remains committed to provide any support for the project.
According to him, Azerbaijan and Turkey are in negotiations on the gas supply and transit issues.

“Azerbaijan should understand Turkey’s point of view in these issues. Currently, Azerbaijan’s share for Nabucco is 10%, but of course may reach about 25%.... We explained our hesitations. Is Azerbaijan ready to resolve these issues? We should keep that in mind. There are other heavyweight partners here like Statoil, Total, BP. They should have their say,” he added.

In his words, as a transit country Turkey has some sensitivity because the pipeline will run about 1,400 kilometers across Turkey. Azerbaijan is seen as a crucial potential provider for the Nabucco pipeline, construction of which is scheduled to begin in 2010, with the completion date set for 2013-2014.

The pipeline will transport 31 billion cubic metres of gas to the energy-hungry EU from the Middle East and Asia so as to reduce the bloc’s reliance on Russian supplies.

Turkish AKP Party deputy chairman and former minister of trade Kursad Tuzmen, who is in Washington as part of the prime-minister’s delegation, told APA’s correspondent that the negotiations are currently going on, increasing the participation of Azerbaijani gas from 10% to 25%.

He expressed his certainty that the negotiations on Nabucoo pipeline between Turkey and Azerbaijan will be successful.
“I assure you, we can find a way to settle the prices on gas between ourselves. I don’t see any difficulty not possible for discussion and adjustment on Nabucoo,” he added.

Speaking about the proposed Nabucco pipeline, Azeri Energy and Industry Minister Natik Aliyev said that it is now up to European participants and governments to get the project off the ground, the APA news agency reported on November 14. At this point, Azerbaijan is the only large-scale supplier that has committed itself to providing natural gas to the pipeline.

The tanker option may eclipse Nabucco
With no firm kick-off in sight for the Nabucco gas pipeline project, however, Azerbaijan is looking into the option of transporting its natural gas to Europe via tankers. The Turks will not be pleased about this, as it means transportation via the Bosphorus. There have been accidents in the straits before now.

"Transportation of compressed gas by special tankers across the Black Sea is something that Azerbaijan has never done before," the Trend news agency quoted Natik Aliyev as saying on November 14. Aliyev said that his ministry will examine the technical and financial aspects of the tanker option.
 

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