US Interest in Caspian Region not Restricted to Oil

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"The Caspian region is important to the US not just for its abundant energy resources. In fact–as important as energy is–our goals go beyond earning money for the producing countries and profits for US companies. Our engagement involves a wide range of issues–including working to resolve regional conflicts–providing economic and humanitarian assistance–achieving the removal of nuclear weapons–and promoting democracy and the rule-of-law," US Ombudsman for Energy and Commercial Cooperation with CIS Jan Kalicki said before the Senate Subcommittee on International Economic Policy–Export–and Trade Promotion.

"Our goal is for the investment and revenues generated by the region’s energy resources to play a crucial role in furthering economic and political development," he said.

According to him–the central challenge now is to build the diversified transport network needed to bring large quantities of oil and gas to outside markets.

"We have more clearly defined our specific goals to realize our broader policy objectives. These goals include development of an east-west transportation corridor that includes trans-Caspian oil and gas pipelines–gas links to Turkey and Ukraine–and a Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline–as well as pipelines through Russia," Kalicki said.

"If we look at the bigger geo-economic picture–we realize that there is more at stake than a single industry–a single region–or a single market. The bigger picture encompasses more than oil and gas. A variety of other products will all utilize the Eurasian corridor and help build the economies of the region. We also need to look past the energy producers in the region and engage energy-poor countries such as Turkey–Ukraine–Georgia–and Armenia–who will all play an important role in how this region develops," said the US official.

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