Urge European Banks to Deny Loan Request for Baku Tibilisi Ceyhan Pipeline

URGENT ACTION ALERT! – DEADLINE DECEMBER 20–2003

Plans for the construction of the Baku-Tibilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline deliberately circumvent its passage through Armenia. The political move for the route to sidestep Armenia holds two consequences: no economic benefits for Armenia–and a much more expensive project than one that would–in fact–pass through Armenia. What’s worse–Azerbaijan’s new President Ilham Aliyev hinted in his inauguration speech that he would use oil revenues to build up the army and restart the war with Armenia.

Furthermore–if constructed–the pipeline will pose serious environmental repercussions–especially on the important mineral water springs of Borjomi in Georgia.

Please take a few minutes of your time to read further and find out what you can do to prevent the funding of this project.

In recent news surrounding the BTC pipeline–Barclays Bank refused to provide a loan for the project–the first major private bank to decline. Campaigners had been targeting the bank over the last month urging it not to become involved in such a controversial project. While this is great news–we now urgently need your help to ensure other private banks follow suit. Although the IFC and EBRD have now approved loans to the pipeline–they are only providing a minority of the financing. The largest portion will come from private banks–i.e. European banks like HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland (which owns Nat West).

These banks will make their decisions on whether to provide loans next week!

Decision day is 20th December.

They are considering providing loans to the pipeline despite the fact that it goes against environmental rules they have agreed to follow.

Thank you once again for your support–

Armenian Youth Federation

Western United States

Central Executive

Please email without delay to tell the Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC not to finance the pipeline. A suggested email text is below–but feel free to write it in your own words; in fact–the more personal the letter–the better.

To send to Royal Bank of Scotland–email: investor.relations@rbs.co.uk To send to HSBC–email: customer.relations@hsbc.com

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am writing to you to express my concern about the fact that your bank is considering financing the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline project. I am deeply concerned about serious impacts the pipeline will have on the environment–on regional tensions–and on people living on the pipeline route. Your bank is a signatory to the Equator Principles–a voluntary set of guidelines designed to prevent financing of the most environmentally and socially damaging projects.

Research by NGOs has found that the BTC pipeline violates the Principles on numerous counts. I urge you to show that your commitment to the Equator Principles is genuine by not supporting projects such as BTC–which violate these principles. Barclays has refused to provide a loan for the BTC project; we urge to follow suit.

The BTC pipeline is a political project sponsored by the USA–and is designed to undermine Iran and Russia–while boosting the regimes of Azerbaijan and Georgia. The recent toppling of the Georgian regime shows the instability of the political approach. Azerbaijan’s Presidential election this autumn is widely recognized as rigged–and was followed by a brutal clampdown against opposition parties. It is not an appropriate role for a bank such as yours to participate in such geopolitical interference.

The region is highly unstable–and this project stands to exacerbate conflicts. For example–Azerbaijan’s new President Ilham Aliyev hinted in his inauguration speech that he would use oil revenues to build up the army–thus restart the war with Armenia.

The pipeline will also result in major human rights abuses. In Turkey–it will be guarded by the notorious state Gendarmerie–which has a record for some of the worst atrocities in the region. It seems BP–the lead company behind the pipeline–has not learned its lessons from the human rights problems with its operations in Colombia.

Research by environment and human rights groups has shown that the pipeline will damage livelihoods of local people living on the route. Compensation for lost land has been inadequate–and many people stand to be forced into the city slums as their land becomes unusable. Meanwhile–massive corruption will prevent any of the revenues reaching those who need them.

I assume that your bank has rigorously assessed the BTC pipeline’s compliance with the Equator Principles. Kindly send me a copy of this analysis–and reassure me that you will not provide a loan to the BTC project.

Sincerely,

Authors

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