Azerbaijan Gives Thumbs-Up to Nabucco Deal

BAKU (Eurasianet)–Azerbaijan reiterated its commitment to the Nabucco gas pipeline project on Monday as Turkey and four European Union members sealed a deal that will allow the much-awaited pipeline to pass through their territories.

Speaking at a summit in Ankara, Azerbaijani Minister of Industry and Energy Natig Aliyev said that Baku is interested in developing the Nabucco transportation corridor to export Azerbaijan’s hydrocarbons to Europe, but added that his country is committed to other export directions such as Russia, APA news agency reported.

The Nabucco project, promoted heavily by Washington and the EU, is essentially meant to reduce Russia’s stranglehold on natural gas exports to Europe.

Azerbaijan’s commitment to the project is vital, as other prospective suppliers — Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan — remain noncommittal about the project.

Azerbaijani media claimed that the intergovernmental agreement signed by Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary allegedly gave an edge to Nabucco against the Russian-proposed alternative, South Stream, but questions about Nabucco linger on. Ankara’s push to include Iran as a supplier is unlikely to go down well with Washington. Meanwhile, arguments about transit terms have again surfaced between Turkey and other Nabucco stakeholders.

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