BAKU: USA reportedly for Armenia’s involvement in Azeri gas project

USA reportedly for Armenia’s involvement in Azeri gas project after return of

Ekspress, Baku
7 May 04

The USA has a proposal to Armenia for an “energy corridor” model at
the Karabakh talks, the head of the centre for political innovations
and technology, Mubariz Ahmadoglu, told a news conference yesterday [6
May]. Yerevan equivocally takes Washington’s cautious position at the
peace talks.

“The US government openly backs Europe’s proposals on the use of
economic cooperation principles to settle the conflict. But Yerevan is
dissatisfied with Washington’s approach to this issue,” Ahmadoglu

According to the new “model”, the USA will discuss the possibility of
Armenia’s involvement in the Baku-Erzurum [gas pipeline] project in
exchange for the return of Azerbaijan’s occupied lands.

[Passage omitted: Armenia’s involvement in Baku-Ceyhan pipeline was
discussed in 1994]

According to Ahmadoglu, it is not a coincidence that Steven Mann has
been appointed as US co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group. He said that
the new situation after this appointment was not to Armenia’s benefit.

“The Armenians view Steven Mann as an open danger for themselves
because the new co-chairman is aware of Yerevan’s behind-the-scene
games in the talks process,” Ahmadoglu said. He added that Steven Mann
was the author of “energy corridor” model.

But the Baku government is unaware of any model on various energy
corridors for the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. “Ideas of this
kind always appear and it is natural. But we have not got any official
information about this,” the Azerbaijani president’s special
representative on the Karabakh conflict and deputy foreign minister,
Araz Azimov, told the Ekspress newspaper.

According to Baku’s official position, cooperation with Armenia is
ruled out until the return of the lands. “We are ready to discuss any
models of the settlement within this condition, i.e. if our lands are
returned,” Azimov said.