Vice Presidential Candidate Might Be Involved in Caspian Projects

WASHINGTON (RFE/RL)–Republican Party presidential hopeful George W. Bush announced on 25 July that former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney has agreed to be his running mate in the upcoming US presidential election.

This will effectively interrupt the business career of Richard Cheney–one of the most successful oil executives and CEO of Haliburton company. Dick Cheney should leave his current post of CEO to run for the office of Vice President. But even if he is successful–he will still keep his oil interest as a shareholder of Halliburton. Dick Cheney has options of more that 100 thousand shares–which equals to $4 million. He sold another 100 thousand shares earlier in May 31.

After former President George Bush lost his reelection bid for White House in 1992–prominent members of his Cabinet–including former Secretary of State James Baker–Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and White House chief of staff John Sununu all started successful careers in a private sector–mainly in the oil industry as political or law consultants.

In 1995 Dick Cheney was hired by the oil service company Halliburton as its chief executive officer. As the Caspian oil bonanza gathered steam–Cheney along with his colleges from former US administrations joined the oil lobby to convince the US government to change its policy in Caspian Basin. They wanted to lift the restrictions imposed on Azeri government by the US Congress.

In 1997–national security adviser to former president Brent Scowcroft George Bush admitted that he wanted to help the Azeri government. "I am a big booster of Azerbaijan because the United States has big interests out there"–said Brent Scowcroft in an interview with the "Washington Post."

According to the Washington Post–Richard Cheney was also actively working at that time to boost Azerbaijan’s image in Washington and to convince Clniton Administration to revoke pro-Armenian Congressional ban on Azeri government.

Dick Cheney along with Zbigniew Brzezinski–who was also promoting Azerbaijan’s cause in Washington–have become the members of honorary council of advisors of US-Azeri chamber of commerce (USACC).

In 1997 Dick Cheney received the USACC "Freedom Support Award" for his "outstanding contribution for Azerbaijan".

In August 1997–the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) awarded Cheney’s Haliburton company a contract to provide engineering design and procurement services for Phase 1 of the Full Field Development of the GCA (Guneshli Chirag Azeri) offshore fields in the Caspian Sea. Halliburton has offices in Baku and is actively pursuing business in Turkmen’stan–where the company was awarded $30 million contract in October 1997.

If elected–George W. Bush indicated that he will give Dick Cheney more say in foreign policy and security issues. This would mean that a George Bush administration will pursue active an Caspian policy and will support US oil interests in the region.

The spokeswoman of the Armenian lobbying group in Washington–the Armenian National Committee of America–Elizabeth Chouldjian–told RFE/RL on July 25 that Armenian organizations positively assess Governor Bush’s stance on Armenian issues–because of his statemen’s on the need to recognize the Armenian Genocide. But she expressed concern that the oil lobby will have effective access to White House in the event that George Bush and Dick Cheney win election in November 2000.

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