Armenia Out of Oil Transit Path Says Ilham Aliyev

TEHRAN (RFE/RL)–Ilham Aliyev–son of the Azeri president and deputy president of the state oil company SOCAR–told journalists Tuesday that Baku "cannot consider" routing the main export pipeline for its Caspian oil via Armenia–"no matter what concessions Armenia makes over Nagorno-Karabakh," Interfax reported.

Ilham Aliyev added that Baku will begin negotiations in January 1998 with all countries through which the main export pipeline may be routed. The decisive factors in the final choice of route will be transit tariffs and security guarantees.

The Azerbaijan International Operating Company that is currently exploiting three Azeri Caspian oil fields declared earlier this year that the economic factor would be decisive.

Meeting in Tehran Tuesday on the eve of the OIC summit–Gaidar Aliyev and Saparmurat Niyazov agreed to set up a bilateral commission jointly headed by the two countries’ foreign ministers to delineate the border between their sectors of the Caspian Sea–Turan and Russian agencies reported.

The commission will hold its first meeting in late December. In July–Turkmen’stan had protested a contract concluded between Azerbaijan and two Russian oil companies to develop the Kyapaz/Serdar deposit–to which both Azerbaijan and Turkmen’stan lay claim. Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Hassan Hassanov said that Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have already reached an agreement on the median and horizontal divisions between their respective sectors of the Caspian.

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