“Silk Road” May Be in Interest of The Region

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenian President Robert Kocharian spoke during discussions on "Possibilities for the Caucasus and Central Asia: Silk Road or Big Game?" held on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos–Switzerland. Below are excerpts of his speech broadcast by the National Television Company on February 6.

"The Silk Route is something close to reality and the processes currently taking place in the region testify to this–including various international programs–such as TRACECA and INOGATE.

It seems to be a Big Game…No "or…or" formula is appropriate here. There is both something close to reality and Big Game here.

It’s enough to take a look at the map to see that it’s the shortest way from Europe to Central Asia. In addition if we take a look at the political map–we shall see that it is a route via small and yet weak countries going through transformation and a route via countries that have no serious geopolitical interests.

The presence of serious hydrocarbon resources in the Caspian sea and a serious resource potential of Central Asia give a special piquancy to these programs.

Together–these factors becomes a subject for big politics and Big Game. The South Caucasus plays a special role in this aspect–as it is the way to Central Asia.

In this very context all countries of the South Caucasus and all countries of Central Asia have a common interest and there arises a question: Does Big Game impede the realization of this project?

I think there is no unequivocal answer here. It may be both in the affirmative and negative

Much will depend on whether the countries of the region will coordinate their action. I think that a proper realization of these projects will turn the South Caucasus into a crossroads connecting not only the West to the East–but also the north to the south.

Much depends on priorities and the general development of the political situation. I think that the projects currently in effect will translate the Silk Route into reality.

We now have to actualize the project proposed during the Istanbul summit to create a system of regional security. The system–I expect–will allow the region to develop in a desirable way by freezing the military situation.

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