Georgian Deman’s Delay Azerbaijan Turkey Pipeline Plans

TBILISI (Hurriyat)–About two months have passed since the signing of the Baku-Ceyhan main export oil pipeline agreement in Istanbul. However–the ratification of the contract by the transit countries is being delayed. The problem is that the Georgian government had a number of claims after the contract had been signed. The Tbilisi government wants to apply its own tariffs for the transportation of oil through its territory. Moreover–the Georgian government wants itself to determine the strips of lands through which the route will pass. In fact–observers assess it as attempts by the Georgians to determine the route of the pipeline.

Tbilisi also intends to charge companies financing the pipeline with paying compensation to farmers through whose land the route will pass. The Georgians have also put forward conditions to the Azerbaijani working group connected with the protection of ecology and the environment. They have also stated that they will buy a proportion of the oil transported through the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline.

All the conditions–except the last one–have led to serious disagreement by the Azerbaijanis. Even the negotiations of the working groups in Tbilisi and Baku–attended by the president of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic–yielded no results. SOCAR reports that Azerbaijan does not intend to accept the conditions put forward by Georgia–and Georgia does not want to abandon its claims. The Georgian president believes that the support of international financial institutions will be crucial. The Georgian ambassador to Azerbaijan considers it necessary for companies financing the oil pipeline to pay compensation to farmers.

The president of the Azerbaijan International Operating Company–David Woodward–told a press conference that the AIOC would not participate in any form in the construction of the pipeline. He added that the companies making up the AIOC would themselves determine their participation in the construction of the oil pipeline–which contradicts what SOCAR President Natig Aliyev had said. Aliyev said that the AIOC would be responsible for financial risks if they arose in the Azerbaijani and Georgian sectors of the oil pipeline.

Obviously new problems have appeared since the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline contract was signed. It is not known when they will be tackled. Seemingly–it is too early to speak about the realization of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline.

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