US Proposes to Delay Baku Ceyhan Deal

ISTANBUL (Marmara)–The United States has proposed to delay a final deal on the construction of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline from October to early 1999–reported the Yeni Yuzel newspaper.

A decision on Baku-Ceyhan–which has been deemed as the optimum route for the transport of Caspian oil to the West–has been marred.

The current US proposal angered Turkish officials who have been waiting anxiously for the culmination of the deal–the Turkish newspaper reported.

The US has sent letters to Azerbaijan–Russia–Kazakhstan and other nations involved in the Caspian oil deal pointing out that the time frame for the construction of the pipeline was inappropriate–due to the volatile situation in the Caucasus.

The US also pointed out that international public opinion was not yet ready for the implementation and construction of such a pipeline.

In its suggestion to postpone the pipeline deal–the US emphasized the Asian and Russian market crisis–stressing that it would not be fair to pressure Russia–a major player in the deal–to address this issue given the volatile economic situation facing the country.

The US also proposed to wait until the Russian economic crisis subsided before signing the deal.

The security of the region–through which the pipeline is to pass–was also taken into consideration. Concern was expressed that the pipeline would always be a target of terrorist attacks.

Turkey reacted angrily to the US proposal and would most likely suggest to postpone the construction of the pipeline–but insist on maintaining the October signing date.

Several months ago–Azeri opposition leader Rasul Guliyev told a Turkish newspaper that Azeri president Haydar Aliyev had been postponing the deal and effectively taking Turkey on a ride.

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