BLACK SEA BASIN REGIONAL PROFILE:
THE SECURITY SITUATION AND THE REGION-BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES
(A Background and April - June 2000 Issue in Brief)
Hard Copy: ISSN 1311 3259
ISN SPONSORED QUARTERLY ELECTRONIC PERIODICAL
PROFILE BACKGROUND OF THE BLACK SEA BASIN
Geopolitical and Geostrategic Tendencies
2. Sources of
Conflict: The Oil and Gas Issue
CONFLICTS AND POST-CONFLICT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE BLACK SEA AREA
Nagorno Karabakh Conflict
The Abkhasisn Conflict
4. The Transdniestr Conflict
Disaster in the Caspian Sea
THE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: SPECIFIC DEVELOPMENTS
THE BILATERAL RELATIONS IN THE BLACK SEA REGION
THE STATE OF REGIONAL INITIATIVES
The Economic Situation in Black Sea Region Countries and Its Consequences on
Black Sea Cooperation
Political and Security Aspects of the Cooperation
EXTERNAL FACTORS (STATES AND INSTITUTIONS) INFLUENCING THE BLACK SEA REGION
THE SECURITY SITUATION AND REGION-BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES: CONCLUSION
broad region stretching from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea has been
dominated in the past three months by the developments of Caucasian
issues and conflicts. The key factor in the security situation and in regional
cooperation was the shift of power in Moscow and the extensive plans to boost
the Russian Federation as a political and economic player in the area.
One could call the past three months the “Putin period”:
relations in the broader Black Sea basin region were definitely tuning
into Russia's determination to confirm its military victory in the rebel Chechen
Republic, a subject of the federation; into initial acts towards restarting a
normal, peaceful life in war-torn Chechnya, together with the demands of
international organisations that Russia deal with the humanitarian issues first
in the post-conflict period; into the clear signs of readiness of the West –
the US, the UK, France, Germany, NATO and the EU – to find in Russia at last
an effective working partner in many areas, and possibly in more areas in the
by the end of June the military situation in Chechnya remained unstable, and the
Russian military command could not claim to be in full control of the territory.
There still remain areas in which the separatist and terrorist fighters of
Chechnya do not provide support for the federal forces.
This makes the post-war rehabilitation of Chechnya more difficult.
factors are not encouraging for projects aimed at bringing oil and gas resources
to world markets. These factors are: the continuing instability of the Caucasian
region, in combination with its strategic importance for Russia; the wavering
international orientations of the three Southern Caucasian states Georgia,
Armenia and Azerbaijan; and the Russian activity to provide the needed nucleus
for integration activity within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) as
a significant factor of blocking the further expansion of extreme and militant
Islamism presently targeting Chechnya and Central Asia.
The possibility of reaching compromises between the oil and gas interests
of the various actors in the Caucasus is key to stability and regional
cooperation – if the national players are able to set their own houses in
order. Diversification of oil
and gas supplies and shorter routes to Europe through the Northern Caucasus are
the likely formula for negotiating a lasting solution to the region's broader
economic, political and military situation.
launched a high-level diplomatic campaign to restore its influence in Central
Asia and the Trans-Caucasian region. The
visits of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan that
started on 18 May marked, in an important way, Russia’s intentions to restore
its weight in these former Soviet Union territories.
The visits and the evolving relations also reflect Russia’s response to
Central Asian requests for security assistance against the threat of Islamic
fundamentalists (an issue that for many security experts is a matter of theory
and research turned into a direct problem for Russia and its Central Asian
neighbours in past years). An
exchange of threats by Russian leaders and the Taliban leaders of Afghanistan
further highlight the persistence of this issue.
Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan and Tajikistan also belong to those countries that
have keen interests in developing stronger security ties with Moscow, and which
in turn showed decisiveness in combating Islamic terrorists and separatists in
Chechnya and in Tajikistan. The
military cooperation agreement between Putin and Turkmen President Saparmurat
Niyazov, and the 28 agreements with Uzbek President Islam
Karimov on military aid and cooperation, are
cornerstones of Russia’s return to the region.
deals are matched with huge gas-supply agreements between Russia and
Turkmenistan, an additional supply
to Russia of 10 billion cubic metres of natural gas from Turkmenistan. Niyazov
became more cooperative after Russia began the construction of the Blue Stream
gas pipeline in lead of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline.
indicators of a shifting geopolitical tendency in the broader region include
expectations of a pro-Russian successor to Azerbaijan President Heidar Aliev;
the unsolved issue of Russian military bases in Georgia;
the active Russia-Kazakhstan military cooperation and the replacement of
Belgium’s Tractebel by Russia’s Gasprom as principal foreign partner in
operating gas pipelines; joint
Russia-Tajikistan military exercises and Russian armed forces based in
Tajikistan; and Russia's insistence
on a 30-year gas-supply pact with Turkmenistan.
is negotiating a long-term project to transport oil through a Chinese-Russian
oil pipeline in addition to military deals already negotiated.
is also reaching out to India. After
a visit of a high-ranking official from the Russian military-industrial complex
in the third week of April, an earlier agreement for India to purchase 310 T-90
tanks from Rossvoorusenie was confirmed. The
tanks are expected to balance the 320 T80U tanks Pakistan has bought from the
is developing special relations with Russia.
In addition to previously defined joint interests in the field of natural
gas distribution, Iran introduced on its balance sheet a joint Iran-French
consortium that would finance an oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea to Teheran.
military balance of the broader region will be influenced by a deal Turkey is
preparing with Germany. The German
Government was expected to take a decision on 3 July on selling 1'000 German
Leopard tanks from the Mannesmann group. However,
Germany is worried that the tanks will be used in the war between Turkey and
appointment of Victor Kaliusin, a former minister of energy, as deputy minister
of foreign affairs, who will act as Putin's special representative on the
regulation of the status of the Caspian Sea, is a strong signal of how seriously
Russia is in its intentions to deal with energy and geostrategic issues in the
area. The distribution and
transportation of oil and gas in the former Soviet republics is another
responsibility of the new deputy minister of foreign affairs.
The energy issue is high on
the agenda of tools for Russian foreign policy.
exploitation of the oil pipeline that surrounds Chechnya started on 17 May.
The pipeline is part of the longer oil pipeline Baku-Novorossiysk, and
its construction began a year ago, after it became clear that the transportation
of oil would be blocked by conflicts. The by-pass is 280 kilometres long and
will transmit five million cubic metres of crude oil a year.
Part of the reconstruction of Chechnya will comprise the rebuilding of
the oil wells in the country, which could produce a million tons of oil a year.
started the construction of the land sector of the Blue Stream gas pipeline from
Russia on Turkish territory at the beginning of May.
Russia's Gasprom and Italy's ENI are main investors.
The pipeline is expected to become operational mid-2001.
recent oil source found in Kashagan on Kazakhstan’s Caspian Sea shores
increases the chances that the oil pipeline from Bulgaria's
Burgas port through FYROMacedonia to the Albanian Adriatic port of Vlora
major oil transport project, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Caspian Basin pipeline, is
getting closer to realisation. Azerbaijan,
Georgia and Turkey completed the legal framework agreement at the end of April,
paving the way for the pipeline. At the same time, while this project is making enormous
progress, the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP) is moving slowly, and some
interested investors are quitting the project.
Part of the problem is that the Turkmen Government doubts that this
project will not harm other markets of the country it may choose.
The US Government is continuing to support
the TCGP and Turkmenistan's right to sell its gas to other markets.
the main part of the Russian military campaign in Chechnya ended with a clear
Russian victory, Chechen terrorist acts continue. In an ambush near the capital of the republic on 31 May the
deputy representative of the Russian president in Chechnya, Colonel Sergey
Zverev, and deputy mayor Habuseev of Grozny
were killed. A month before,
43 elite Russian commandos were ambushed and killed in the mountains of Chechnya.
Volgograd, Ekaterinburg and other cities in Russia have been the victims
of minor terrorist acts or terrorist attempts with a Chechen connection.
A special target of Chechen terror are Muslim religious leaders of
Chechnya who do not support the separatist cause. Muslim cleric Umar Idrisov was
shot and killed on 16 June in Urus-Martan, in the southwest of the republic,
only hours after he urged for peace in Chechnya.
At the beginning of May Chechen Muslim leader Ahmed Kadirov survived an
assassination attempt. He is also a
supporter of peace and is hated by both the former president of the republic,
Aslan Mashadov, and the separatist field commanders. The latter have promised
US$250'000 to a successful killer.
to the Russian military command, the separatists are preparing for a new round
of major war activity and are trying to form a bigger armed force.
Afghan Taliban fighters and Pakistani supporters have been approached.
The Russian Government warned on 22 May of the possibility of pre-emptive
strikes against Afghanistan for its support for the rebels.
return of Chechen refugees was accelerated after the Russian presidential
elections – more than 500 Chechens are returning each day.
However, the campaign of terror, carried out by the separatists, and the
sporadic fighting across Chechnya is causing new displacements and slowing the
pace of returns.
federal authorities are considering how to address the deep-rooted social and
economic problems that are the source of unrest in the North Caucasus region.
International organisations like the United Nations (UN) and the CE
continue to urge for measures that would guarantee the respect of human rights,
and the US administration has already contributed US$3.3 million to UN
humanitarian efforts. The Russian
Government has allowed European monitors into Chechnya and has established a
government office for the investigation of human rights violations.
Vladimir Kalamanov, a lawyer, became Putin's representative for human
rights in Chechnya. More money and
more cooperation from the military are expected, if his task is to be fulfilled.
Furthermore, after Putin's decision to establish direct control over
Chechnya at the beginning of June, the next steps are expected to be local
elections. The Russian Government does not intend to negotiate with
Mashadov, who, according to reliable intelligence information, was involved in
the terrorist activities of field commanders Shamil Basaev and Movladi Udugov.
a post-conflict rehabilitation effort Russian authorities have opened the first
post-war branch of the Russian Central Bank.
It will provide support for the activity of the election commission in
to an opinion poll in Azerbaijan carried out by the Centre for Social-Economic
Studies “Siar”, 66 per cent of the country's male population is ready to
fight for the "liberation" of Nagorno Karabakh. Eighty-eight per cent of those interviewed are worried about
the present state of the negotiation process.
Most believe the ideal way to regulate the conflict is to continue
negotiations with Armenia, with the help of foreign mediators.
Thirty-six per cent of the Azeri people believe Russia is the best
international mediator, 19 per cent believe the US is, and 16 per cent see
Turkey as the best mediator.
unknown terrorist group in Abkhasia kidnapped four people on 1 June, including
two Danish UN military observers and a British citizen working for a NGO.
They were freed on 6 June unconditionally. The kidnappers' earlier demand had been US$300'000.
In the crisis-management operation Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze
spoke by phone with the leader of the self-proclaimed "Abkhasian republic",
Vladislav Ardzindba, and this led to the successful release of those kidnapped.
conflicting parties of the Abkhaz
conflict cannot reach a comprehensive political
settlement of the dispute. Despite
the unstable situation, however, the area remains generally calm.
National-Liberal Party of Moldova revitalised, at the beginning of April, an
older suggestion of unification of Moldova with Romania.
This party has initiated a movement for that strives to become part of
the “civilised world”, mainly of Romania.
This activity provoked a counter-proposal of the self-proclaimed
Pridniestr republic, whose aim is to become part of the Union “Russia-Belarus”,
in which it sees better prospects for development.
500 seals died at the end of April on the island of Shaliga, in the Kazakh part
of the Caspian Sea. The dead
mammals were mainly two to three months old.
Experts say the seals were killed either by the mild, even warm winter or
by hydrogen sulphide from the Tengiz oil sources and activities of other oil
companies. The eco-catastrophe will
have adverse effects on the sea environment in the Azeri and Iranian parts of
the Caspian Sea, and this could cause transborder tensions.
the end of April the parliamentary majority, subservient to the military-backed
government of Prime Minister Aram Sarkisian, made an attempt to impeach
President Robert Kocharian. Observers
interpreted this move as an indicator of the escalating power struggle between
the government and its militaries, on one side, and the president, on the other.
Furthermore, this move was also an attempt to fix a definitely
pro-Russian foreign political orientation.
The president reciprocated on 2 May by dismissing Sarkisian and Defence
Minister Vagarshak Harutiunian only a few days after they concluded talks in
Moscow on the transfer from Georgia to Armenia of Russian troops based in the
Black Sea South Caucasian state. These
dismissals could lead to an improved relationship between Yerevan and Baku,
including on the Nagorno Karabakh issue; it could also mean fewer chances for
shifting the Russian armed contingents from Georgia to Armenia and an
intensification of links with the US.
Markaryan, a 49-year-old computer expert and leader of the Republican Party, was
appointed prime minister. In the
mid-1970s Markaryan was jailed for membership of an illegal nationalist party.
Shevardnadze was easily re-elected on 9 April with more than 80 per cent of
votes. The opposition was not
serious, but the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and
the CE indicated irregularities in the conduct of the elections, including
instances of ballot-stuffing, media bias and lack of transparency in vote
counting and tabulation. Building
strong democratic institutions, fighting corruption and dealing with the four
military bases in Georgia are the challenges ahead for the 72-year-old
riots in Chisinau from 17 to 20 April caused damage of US$100'000 and left 64
people injured, including 56 policemen. Easter
celebrations in the capital were cancelled.
The riots showed how weak the democratic institutions of Moldova still
are: the police force is ill-trained and under-paid. They also showed how
devastating excessive demands from international financial institutions can be
in economies where the budgetary situation has already been disastrous.
The government’s main concern, however, remains how it can avoid
defaulting on foreign debts. On 17
April the parliament rejected the Privatisation Bill, proposed by the government,
that resulted in the decision of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) not to
disburse the next US$35 million instalment of a loan that was due to be paid
mid-May. The World Bank acted the
same way on another loan. New
tensions can be expected if the economic pressure on the population persists.
The privatisation of the wine and tobacco industries remains the most
contentious issue between Moldova and the IMF.
There is national resentment at a possible foreign take-over of these two
industries. There could be a
political crisis similar to the one in December
last year when the new government of Dumitru Burghis was formed.
Putin was sworn into office as Russia’s president on 7 May.
His main tasks are coping with the Chechnya crisis and recovering
Russia's status as a great power. Putin
was appointed by Russian President Michael Kassyanov, and his appointment was
approved by the Duma with 325 votes in favour and 55 against, with 15
abstentions. Putin issued a decree
on 13 May to reform the Russian federal system:
seven federal districts were created as “hats” over the 89 regions.
Putin also announced that he was considering legislation to restrict the
governors’ powers – a proposal likely to meet with fierce opposition in many
regions. The new federal order
means regional capitals will be established in the seven districts, and it gives
Putin the authority to set up staff in each capital.
first visit abroad was to the UK at the invitation of British Prime Minister
Tony Blair. On his way back to
Moscow Putin briefly visited Belarus and the Ukraine, including the Black Sea
Navy of Russia. The Russian Senate
ratified the START-2 Treaty on 19 April, following
the similar procedure of the Duma.
to a new “foreign policy doctrine”, the Russian Foreign Ministry becomes
directly responsible for coordinating all external government activity.
The doctrine is also expected to give a more central place to economic
factors in policy-making.
have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strengthening the power of the
country’s president, Leonid Kuchma, at the expense of the parliament in a
nation-wide referendum held on 16 April. The
amendment of the constitution, based on the referendum, is the president's next
step. Some observers interpret the
referendum as another step towards dictatorship and a violation of the
constitution; others consider it an internal Ukrainian matter.
In September 300 of the 450 members of parliament are expected to show
the way of Ukrainian parliamentary democracy and decide to reduce their own
power. Kuchma says he needs more
authority to implement economic reforms.
Ukrainian president announced at the beginning of June that the Chernobyl
nuclear station would be closed by 15 December.
president met with Armenian President Robert Kocharian early April in Tbilisi.
Cooperation in international transport and energy programmes, and
stability in the region, including improved Azerbaijan-Armenia relations with
Georgian mediation, were points of agreement between the two.
Analysts say that beneath the tensions over Nagorno Karabakh there is a
slow but steady growth of economic relations and trade between Armenia and
Azerbaijan, interestingly via Georgia, and sometimes with the help of Iranian
middle-men. Armenian and other
economic experts have started the discussion of developing a Caucasian common
market of the three states.
bilateral treaty was signed between the two countries on 28 April, constituting
an important contribution to the stability of
the northeastern part of the Balkan peninsula and of the northwestern
part of the Black Sea basin.
Minister of the Interior Vladimir Rushailo visited Tbilisi on 26 May for two
days. He met with his counterpart
and with the Russian president. They
agreed on the need to cooperate in fighting organised crime, money forgery and
laundering, and the handling of dangerous criminals. The director of the Russian federal border service,
Konstantin Tozki, visited Georgia on 6 June and discussed bilateral cooperation
and providing Georgia with border equipment.
Tozki paid a similar visit to Azerbaijan on 5 June and agreed to intensify the
individual efforts to overcome the problems facing the two border services.
Prime Minister of Moldova, Dumitru Burghis, visited Sofia on 22-23 June and met
with Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov and President Petar Stoyanov.
There are more than 90'000 Bulgarians living in Moldova.
Kostov agreed to provide the Bulgarian electric power transmission lines
in Romania to keep the energy balance of Moldova.
Moldova agreed to continue the transit of nuclear waste from the Kozloduy
nuclear plant to Russia.
Meeting of Turkish-Speaking Countries
leaders of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and
Uzbekistan met in Baku on 8 April. They
reached an agreement that stability in the region is dependent on the
cooperation of the six countries in countering separatism, extremism, aggressive
nationalism and international terrorism.
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
regular meeting of the Custom Union, comprising Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgystan and Tajikistan, was convened in Minsk on 23 May.
The participants reached an agreement to continue to work towards forming
a union similar to the Custom Union of the European Union (EU).
In September a working group is to present ideas for restructuring the
participating states in the Treaty for Collective Security met in Minsk on 24
May. They confirmed the priority of
their military-political relations relative to third-party
countries that are not part of the agreement.
A Committee of the Security Council of the Treaty was created for
monitoring and reacting to ongoing global developments. The treaty remains open
to other countries that share its principles.
of the CIS in Baku point to the missing serious economic integration policy, and
critics in Kiev underline Russian hegemonic ambitions.
Kuchma interpreted the meeting of the Custom Union as a Russian attempt
to politically influence other CIS members.
During an economic forum in Moscow in mid-June, with participants from 60
countries, Russian Prime Minister Kassyanov declared Russia's ambition to create
a single economic space on the territory of the CIS.
CIS summit meeting was convened in Moscow on 20-21 June, and the topics of
security and strategic stability dominated the discussions. The CIS leaders agreed to create an anti-terrorist centre.
All CIS states but Turkmenistan will join in the activity of the centre,
which will deal with information, organisation and administrative tasks to
guarantee the fight against international terrorism and extremism.
The issue of creating a free trade zone of CIS countries was postponed.
In the context of the CIS, the leaders of Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and
Georgia met on 20 June and decided to convene such meetings twice a year.
Russian economy grew by more than 7 per cent in the first three months of this
year, the biggest jump in gross domestic product since Russia began measuring
the figure in 1992. This is a
continuation of the same tendency in the previous year, when the economy grew by
3.2 per cent. Rouble devaluation
and higher oil prices helped the recovery.
The plans for 2000 are to continue to slow down inflation to between 11
and 12 per cent (compared to 90 per cent in 1999). The economic aim of Putin's team is an annual economic growth
of 5 to 10 per cent, an eventual liberalisation of the currency regime, and
continuation of regular payments of the country’s foreign debt (US$3 billion
were paid in the first quarter of this year).
IMF experts visited Russia in the second half of May in preparation of a
new programme of cooperation that will be in line with the economic plans of the
new government. The new budget will
function in the environment of a tax reform, where VAT is expected to be 13 per
cent. The new Russian budget is
expected to be adopted before the summer parliamentary vacation.
construction of two disputed power-plants in Adapazari and their future
operation have received decisive financial support by the Export-Import Bank of
the US. It announced on 1 May that
it would provide US$523 million to support the export of US equipment and
services. OPIC – the US Overseas
Private Investment Corporation – will provide direct loans for the projects,
and the official credit agencies of Germany and Belgium will provide
to OPIC vice-president Kirk Robertson, Turkey plays a pivotal role for OPIC in
the region encompassing the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea nations, South-Eastern
Europe and the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey's market-friendly reforms have created a foundation
for strong economic performance: interest
rates are down, private investment is up, and privatisation is being pursued
aggressively. Turkey, very probably,
is moving into a period of sustained economic growth.
Yushchenko, the Prime Minister of the Ukraine, started a visit on 9 May in the
US in an effort to mend his country’s good name.
He met US President Bill Clinton, Clinton's national security adviser,
Samuel Burger, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the new head of the
IMF, Horst Köhler. There has been
evidence that the Ukraine misled the IMF over foreign currency reserve levels in
1997-98, when Yushchenko was head of the country’s central bank.
An auditor’s study, made public at the beginning of May, showed that
reserves were overstated by more than US$700 million, encouraging the IMF to
lend US$200 million that it otherwise would not have.
Yushckenko's mission was to
revive a US$2.2 billion loan programme with the IMF.
US pressed the Ukrainian prime minister to close the Chernobyl nuclear plant and
to tighten rules on the continuing production of pirate compact discs in the
Multilateral Cooperation of OBSEC Countries
joined a project on 6 April that includes Greece, Cyprus, Russia and the
Ukraine. The project aims to link telecommunication systems of these countries
with an optic cable under the Black Sea. The
Greek OTE, the national telecommunication company, has a 37 per cent share in
the project, the BTK, the Bulgarian partner, has 23 per cent, and three other
companies hold the other 40 per cent. Varna, Odessa and Novorossiysk are the Black Sea
“pillars” of the project, which will be implemented by “Alcatel” and “Tico”.
A “Stability Pact”/Collective Security System Project
few days before the presidential elections in Georgia, in a speech to the
parliament in Tbilisi, Armenian President Kocherian said the membership of the
three countries of the Southern Caucasus in the OSCE, the membership of Georgia
in the CE and the upcoming memberships of Armenia and Azerbaijan in the same
organisation preclude the philosophic debate
about the three states “belonging” to Europe.
The weakest but key component of cooperation in the region is the lack of
a collective security system. The
formula of Armenia is 3+3+2: the three states of the Southern Caucasus, their
three immediate neighbours Russia, Turkey and Iran, and the EU and the US.
Kocharian underlined the role of the various historic, economic, cultural
and other links of the three countries with Russia.
At the beginning of May the Brussels-based think-tank CEPS – the Centre
for European Policy Studies – announced the draft of a “stability pact”
for the conflict-torn Caucasus region. Its
authors consider the time ripe for its launch because of the deadlocked
conflicts and war fatigue. CEPS
envisages a cooperative regime for the south and north Caucasus regions that
would be underwritten by all regional actors and big external powers.
The EU, the US and Russia would sketch out a “stability pact” for the
area, a call for which was made in January this year by the then Turkish
President Suleyman Demirel. A South Caucasus Community (SCC) is expected to be
established. The OSCE is considered
by CEPS to be the most appropriate international body to oversee the system,
which would cover the Black Sea, the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea regions.
Black Sea Navy Cooperation
third meeting of representatives of the navies of the Black Sea countries was
convened in Istanbul on 17 April. Cooperation
in rescue and humanitarian contingencies is the target of this cooperation.
Partnership for Peace (PfP) navy exercise “Cooperative Partner – 2000”
started on 19 June near Odessa, a Black Sea port in the Ukraine. The exercise
will last till 1 July. It will deal
with peacekeeping and rescue situations. Bulgaria
joined the exercise with three navy ships.
Other PfP participants are Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania, Sweden and the
Ukraine. Russia is not
participating but is monitoring the exercise without observers.
The reasons are said to be economic.
NATO states that participants in the exercise are:
the UK, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands,
Turkey and the US.
US-Azerbaijan. At the beginning of April the US State Department disclosed
its concern about the continuing detention of 50 political prisoners in
Albright met in Kiev with her Ukrainian counterpart Boris Tarasyuk on 14 April.
She also met the president and the prime minister of the Ukraine. The visit was in confirmation of the strategic partnership
between the two countries. US President Bill Clinton made a short visit to the
Ukraine on 5 June, met with the president and gave a speech at a big gathering
in St. Michael’s Square in Kiev. The
decision to close the Chernobyl nuclear plant by 15 December was applauded by
the US, and US$78 million will be added to the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, which is
to pay for a sarcophagus of the Chernobyl reactors.
The US will also help the Ukraine diversify its sources of nuclear fuel
and thereby cut its energy costs. Clinton also announced that commercial
space-launch quotas with the Ukraine are being eliminated, opening the way for
more commercial ventures. Cooperation
in other areas was also agreed upon. (3)
US-Turkey. The US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs,
Ed Walker, visited Turkey on 13-14 April and had talks at the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs in Ankara. The US
Ambassador to Turkey, Marc Parris, spoke on June 1 at the Southeastern Anatolian
Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association Forum in Sirnak, Turkey. He spoke
on the opportunities for US business investment and trade in the region.
This was the first visit of a US ambassador to the southeastern region in
20 years. It is a powerful
indicator of an improved security situation. Parris addressed the Batman Bar
Association on 2 June and expressed his government’s support for peace and the
rights of the citizens guaranteed them under the law.
(4) US-Russia. Clinton
visited Moscow on 4-5 June, held talks on the economic reform in Russia, spoke
to the Russian Duma – the first time an
American president has done so – and agreed with Putin to launch a joint
warning centre on missile launches. A bilateral meeting between US Secretary of
Defence William Cohen and Russian Minister of Defence Igor Sergeyev was held on
9 June in Brussels. They discussed
the development of a missile defence system.
It was suggested that the US, Russia and European countries may work
together to meet common security needs through common defence. Cohen said after
the meeting that the Russians had given no details about their proposal. Cohen
discussed the same ideas further in Moscow on 12-13 June with his Russian
counterpart and with Putin. (5)
US-Georgia. A mass casualty exercise by US and Georgian forces was
carried out on 14-25 June in the Caucasus. It was the first of its kind in the
spirit of PfP in Georgia. (6) US-Armenia.
Clinton met Armenian President Robert Kocharian on 27 June in the White House.
They discussed regional issues, including the US support for the Nagorno
Karabakh peace process and the restoration of the economic ties between the
countries of the Caucasus. Armenia’s
efforts to strengthen democracy and the rule of law and to build a market
economy were also discussed.
NATO-Georgia. A few days before the presidential elections in Georgia,
President Shevardnadze told reporters that Georgia would knock on the doors of
NATO in 2005, but the knocking would probably continue for ten years.
The NATO-Ukraine Commission for Distinctive Partnership held a meeting at
the Foreign Ministers' level on 25 May in Florence, Italy, and at the Defence
Ministers’ level on 8 June in Brussels. A shift from making plans and pledges
to carrying out commitments was considered the conclusion of these meetings.
(3) NATO-Russia. General
Anatoly Kvashnin, Russian Chief of General Staff, visited NATO HQ in Brussels on
7 May and attended the meeting of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council at the
level of Chiefs of General Staff. Russian
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov attended the meeting of the Joint Council at
Foreign Ministers' level on 25 May in Florence.
Russian Defence Minister Sergeyev attended the meeting of the Permanent
Joint Council at the Defence Ministers' level in Brussels on 9 June.
High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) Javier Solana,
EC President Romano Prodi and other EU representatives visited Moscow on 29 May
and participated in a Russia-EU meeting. They
met with Putin. The EU Council summit in Feira, Portugal, on 20-21 June
confirmed the will of the EU to support the efforts of Putin and the Russian
Government to modernise and reform the country.
Post-conflict Chechnya remains in the grips of the separatists’ acts of
terror and occasional fierce fighting in some areas.
Russia’s post-war rehabilitation efforts are part of a broader domestic,
economic, strategic and foreign-political activism that is expected to revive
the great power status of the country under a new and dynamic president.
A visit by US President Bill Clinton to Moscow and Kiev intensified
NATO-Russia and NATO-Ukraine contacts and lead to a new stability for ongoing
issues in the Black Sea/Transcaucasus/Caspian Sea region.
Bottom-up initiatives and ideas could shape a more stable regional
configuration of security relations. NATO's
Partnership for Peace program is one of the positive agents in the Black Sea and
the Caucasus, stimulating partnership and cooperation.
Oil and gas projects moved in a generally constructive way, seeking compromise
and opportunity for more actors. The US and the EU are acting in a constructive
way that could provide chances for a stable and longer-term economic cooperation.
There are indications that the South-Eastern Europe region is taking
shape, despite slowly evolving cooperation Transcaucasian region, which has the
potential for beneficial relations between all players.
CONTACT AND REFERENCE
Dr. Plamen Pantev, Editor–in–Chief
ISSN 1311 – 3240
Dr. Tatiana Houbenova-Delissivkova
Address: ISIS, 1618 Sofia,
Mr. Valeri Rachev, M. A.
P. O. Box 231, Bulgaria
Mr. Ivan Tsvetkov, M. A.
E-Mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Todor Tagarev