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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: 356 - (26/08/10)

The tricky triangle
There is no doubt that there is a very tricky triangular relationship between Baku, Moscow and Yerevan.

Actually it is quadrilateral, because Tbilisi needs to be taken into account as well. The Russo- Georgian War of August 2008 was no minor event.

Some Armenian experts claim that Russia’s intention to sell the S-300 air defense system to Azerbaijan will be balanced by a new Yerevan-Moscow agreement extending terms of Russian base’s deployment in Armenia. “Russia’s attempt to maintain balance between Armenia and Azerbaijan is fraught and aims at comforting the Armenian side. I do not believe that Russia will ensure Armenia’s security, as Moscow’s interests do not coincide with ours. If Azerbaijan decides to resolve the Karabakh conflict through military means, I do not think that Russia will fully protect Armenia and use weapons against Azerbaijan,” a board member of Hunchakian party Hambik Safaryan stated.

According to him, the Azerbaijani-Russian relations have been recently improving. However, Armenia does not want to register that, considering that Russia is their ally only, and is not establishing relations with any Caucasian states.

Relations with Azerbaijan are very important for Russia from strategic viewpoint, as Azerbaijan is located in the centre of an oil province and a network of pipelines and can play significant role. The country is bordering Iran which is Russia’s leverage in their relations with Tehran, Safaryan noted.

“Taking into account,” he concluded, “Azerbaijani-U.S. relations, we are really concerned, as until there is a confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the Karabakh issue is on the agenda, Azerbaijan’s increasing role will negatively affect the Karabakh peace process,” This appears to be an intelligent summary of the situation, but it is unusual for the Armenians to acknowledge this.

Actually Turkey counts too
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul in Baku on August 16, President Ilham Aliyev said that "Azerbaijan will continue to make political and diplomatic efforts for its territorial integrity. I believe that we will realize Azerbaijan's territorial integrity".

“Turkey and Azerbaijan share a deep friendship coming from history. President Gul's current visit to Azerbaijan will contribute to the development of our relations,” Aliyev said.

“We exchanged views with President Gul on diverse issues, including the Upper Karabakh issue. As you know, Azeri territory has been under Armenian occupation for long years. Armenians have been pursuing an 'ethnic cleansing policy' in the territory under occupation and have violated international laws,” Ilham Aliyev said.

Azerbaijan will realize its territorial integrity with the decisions to be taken from now on, Aliyev underlined.

Aliyev thanked Turkey for the support extended vis-a-vis the Upper Karabakh issue.

In response to a question on visa liberalization with Turkey, Aliyev said that the issue of visas did come up and that visa liberalization would take place once Azerbaijan makes the necessary internal arrangements.

In regard to a question on Upper Karabakh, President Aliyev said that "I believe this problem would be resolved.The realization of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan carries high importance. Armenian troops must withdraw from Azeri territories and those Azeri citizens who had to leave the territory must return back to their homes,” Aliyev also said.

Azeri gas as the Bulgarian alternative
Bulgaria has stepped up efforts to reduce its almost complete dependence on Russian gas by diversifying routes and supplies after a dispute between Russia and Ukraine left it without gas for weeks in early 2009.

Under the project, Azeri gas would be transported via a pipeline to Georgia to be compressed and shipped by tankers to Bulgaria's Black Sea port of Varna, said Ivan Drenovichki, executive director of Bulgartansgaz.

Azeri state oil company Socar, Bulgartransgaz and Georgian Oil and Gas Company are set to launch a feasibility study for the project at a meeting planned for 23/24 September. "We have an initial agreement to launch a feasibility study. In September we are to take this decision," Drenovichki said."If all goes well and the project proves expedient, first deliveries can start at the end of 2013," he said.

Bulgaria's gas consumption averages about four Bcm a year, he said.

The study will define the value of the project, which Drenovichki said could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, with over 85% of the funds needed for tankers.

Sofia signed a memorandum of understanding for gas deliveries with Baku last November, saying some deliveries could be transported by the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline, aimed to carry natural gas from the Caspian region to Europe.

The Nabucco project faces rivalry from the Russia-led South Stream gas pipeline project, which aims to cement Moscow's position as key gas supplier to Europe.


 

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