The Georgian Messenger
23 April 2004
Prepared by Anna Arzanova
Oil interests hang in the balance in Karabakh conflict
According to the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the aggravation of
Armenian-Azeri conflict may interfere in the construction of the pipeline
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan. For the first time after ten years of peace, there has
been talk in Baku and in Yerevan about the possibility of the renewal of
military actions in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh con-flict.
Last week, the Minister of Defense of Azerbaijan stated that a war between
Armenia and Azerbaijan may start at any moment and specified that it can
take place given that Armenian authorities are loosing control over the
situation in the country, where the political crisis is aggravating.
The United States is concerned that armed forces may act independent of
politicians and provoke armed conflict themselves. The clearest sign of
Washington’s concern regarding the development of events in the zone of
Armenian-Azeri conflict is the appointment of Steven Mann as the American
co-chair of the Minsk Group of the OSCE.
This diplomat managed to solve the most important problem for the United
States to direct the transportation of energy resources from the Caspian Sea
region to the West, which is needed by Washingon. Steven Mann has close
relations not only with the leadership of one of the countries involved in
the conflict Azerbaijan, but also with Western oil companies, which have
interests in this region.
It is possible that Washington really intends to stimulate the process of
regulating the conflict. Though, probably, the task before Steven Mann is to
postpone armed conflict until 2005. By this time, the BTC pipeline will be
set in motion. After this, the insuring of the pipeline’s security will
become an international problem.
The West will at any price not allow the renewal of hostilities, though, as
the former co-chairman of the Minsk Group of OSCE of Russia Vladimer
Kazimirov said, the experience gained by Steven Mann at the position of
president’s special representative of the United States in Caspian region,
will not help him in this new field. “There are lots of ways to exert
pressure to avoid armed actions and the smell of oil is not necessary for
this,” states the expert.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress