West Urged to Counter Russia

LONDON (Financial Times)–President Haydar Aliyev of Azerbaijan on Monday urged the west to counter the influence of Russia in the Caucasus with political and economic support for the region’s newly independent states.

"The west has to expand its presence in the Caucasus–particularly in the south Caucasus countries (including Azerbaijan)–both its economic presence and its presence in supporting the development of democratic processes in these countries," he said at the start of a three-day official visit to the UK.

During his stay Aliyev signed three oil deals–with a potential combined value of many billions of dollars–with British Petroleum–Ramco Energy and Monument Oil and Gas.

The contracts are confirmation that Azerbaijan remains an attractive destination for foreign oil investment–even though the financial terms of such deals have become tougher since the landmark deal with the Azerbaijan International Operating Company was signed in 1994.

Aliyev criticized Russia’s role in the region–including its close military ties with Armenia–Azerbaijan’s western neighbor.

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