BLACK SEA BASIN REGIONAL PROFILE:
THE SECURITY SITUATION AND THE REGION-BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES
(April - June 2002)
for Security and International Studies (ISIS), Sofia
|II.||PROFILE OF THE BLACK SEA-CASPIAN SEA AREA|
|1.||Geopolitical, Geostrategic, and Geoeconomic Tendencies|
|2.||Sources of Conflict in the Black Sea-Caspian Sea Region|
|b) The Military Balance|
|c) The Delimitation of the Caspian Sea and of the Black Sea|
|d) Oil and Gas Issues|
|III.||CONFLICT AND POST-CONFLICT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE BLACK SEA AREA|
|IV.||THE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: SPECIFIC DEVELOPMENTS|
|V.||THE BILATERAL AND MULTILATERAL RELATIONS IN THE BLACK SEA REGION AND THE STATE OF CIS AND GUUAM|
|3.||CIS: Collective Security Treaty (CST)|
|VI.||THE STATE OF THE BLACK SEA REGIONAL COOPERATION AND THE ROLE OF THE EU AND NATO|
|1.||Economic Aspects of the Black Sea Cooperation: National and Regional Perspectives|
|2.||Political and Security Aspects of Black Sea Regional Cooperation and EU and NATO/PfP Activities|
|VII.||OTHER EXTERNAL FACTORS – STATES AND INSTITUTIONS INFLUENCING THE BLACK SEA REGION|
The period between the beginning of April and the end of June 2002 was rich in events that had a substantial impact on the evolution of the security situation in the Black Sea-Caspian Sea area. These events and developments are elements or phases of the realization of tendencies of a larger in scope and importance magnitude, whose influence on the Black Sea-Caspian Sea region is crucial.
In the traditional
spirit of cooperation with Russia, NATO together with Moscow selected
some areas of partnership that were highly important for both parties:
the fight against terrorism, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,
crisis management, peacekeeping, air defense, and search and rescue
operations. The expanded NATO Council, in which Russia now has equal
rights as a partner in the decision-making process with the 19 allies,
marks a new stage in the post-Cold War security of Europe and beyond.
of US-Russian and NATO-Russian strategic relations was further influenced
by the perception of the transforming Russian economy by Washington
and the EU: both Western power blocs have pledged to support the structural
changes and development of the market economy of the new Eastern partner
as a solid guarantee of Russia's future vitality and sustainability.
The integration of Russia in the WTO and the development of economic
relations with EU are factors expected to bring strategic and economic
interests in harmony with those of the former rival power. The broader
strategic "package" solution in supporting the Russian economic
progress by the West will inevitably include the full utilization of
the hydrocarbon richness of the Caspian Sea. This utilization can be
best carried out through cooperating of the external and the regional
actors with interests in the extraction, transit, selling and buying
of the oil and gas from the Caspian Sea.
reacted ambiguously to the global strategic shifts : China assessed
Russia's withdrawal from the ABM Treaty as a voluntary sacrifice of
its global strategic power status in exchange for the status of a regional
power; however, China has decided to seek ways of balancing US power
by intensifying its cooperation with Washington. While the official
Chinese reactions have praised the expanded NATO Council of 20 as a
"contribution to security and stability in the world", Chinese
analysts point to the possibility of NATO troops on the border with
Russia as a negative scenario for the country's security. This scenario
would become even more troublesome for Beijing if Central Asian states
such as Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan should also join the ranks of NATO.
development in the regional security and economic situation was seen
in Iran's renewed efforts to arm itself with nuclear weapons (the country
already possesses operational longer-range missiles) against the background
of US assessments of Tehran as a regime of "concern". Iran
asserted its ties with Moscow by joining in the formal establishment
of the already functioning North-South corridor as a strategic transport,
economic, and trade alternative to the EU- and US-sponsored Transport
Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA), an East-West corridor.
This is the
global and regional strategic context within which local and external
actors worked to delimit the Caspian Sea and make it an easier sphere
of cooperation, and to advance the fight against terrorism.
On the issue
of delimitation in the Caspian Sea, two competing concepts have been
promoted: the division of the seabed and the water on the principles
established by the Convention of the Law of the Seas of 1982 among Russia,
Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, or an equal division of the Caspian Sea that
would give the five littoral states 20 per cent each, a solution promoted
by Iran and (less forcefully) by Turkmenistan. The former group of three
countries is establishing legal precedent and is exerting strong political
pressure on the other two coastal states. The failure of the five state
leaders to reach a legal consensus at the Caspian Sea summit was followed
by new talks and disputes among the parties. For the time being, they
maintain their diverging positions in the hope that next year's summit
may generate a consensus solution. In the meantime, there is both tacit
and verbal agreement to proceed with the exploitation of the Caspian
Sea resources. Oil and gas pipelines are being built both along the
East-West and the North-South axes. Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Azerbaijan,
and Turkey are particularly active in building the routes.
The summit meeting
of President Bush and President Putin in Moscow further underlined their
joint position in fighting terrorism as the biggest enemy to the security
of the world. A similar confirmation was produced at the NATO summit
in Rome in the end of May. Among the most active players on the counter-terrorist
front in the Black Sea-Caspian Sea region are the US, Russia, and Turkey.
In various configurations of relations with other states in the region,
each of these is pushing forward the front against terrorists. Russia
is particularly active in promoting the issue of counter-terrorism in
the CIS and in the context of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,
in which China participates too. Very significant initial steps of cooperation
between Russia and Turkey could also be noticed in this period.
There is a growing
need to settle the traditional conflicts in Chechnya, Nagorno Karabakh,
and Abkhazia. The cooperative efforts in utilizing the oil and gas resources
and the joint fight against terrorism have caused an acceleration in
the resolution of post-Cold War conflicts in the Caucasus. Though bilateral,
multilateral, and regional relations continue to develop (especially
in the defense and confidence-building area), the national developments
remain a major area of concern: to what extent are democratic processes
gaining ground, and how are the rules of the market economy adapted
to the former centrally planned economies? Despite many positive trends
in the Black Sea-Caspian Sea area, the autocratic inclinations of the
regimes and the violation of democratic principles remain major stumbling-blocks
on the region's path to progress. The deepening involvement of both
NATO and the EU in the broader space between the Black Sea and the Caspian
Sea bears a significant potential to incrementally influence the progress
of the individual countries.
of the US and Russia, George Bush and Vladimir Putin, on 24 May in Moscow
signed the Start III Treaty, under which the two sides will reduce their
nuclear warheads to 1'700 (Russia) and 2'200 (US) by 31 December 2012.
On 13 June, the US officially withdrew from the ABM Treaty (1972). On
14 June Russia stated that due to the US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty,
it would consider the Start II Treaty irrelevant. Russia does not, however,
consider itself to have suffered any losses in connection with the US
withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, because it is compensated by other legally
binding strategic agreements, mainly the Start III Treaty. The NATO-Russia
Council that was established on 28 May in Rome further added to the
formation of a new perceptual situation: the US, NATO, and Russia no
longer perceive each other as enemies and threats. Though the Chinese
interpretation of Russia's agreement to play a minor strategic global
role might be true, it is no less obvious that Russia is gradually aligning
its own interests, whatever their scope may be, with those of the West
- the US, NATO, and the EU.
reactions to the shifts in US-Russian strategic relations and the new
level of development of relations between NATO and Moscow are of practical
importance for the geopolitical and geoeconomic pressures experienced
by the Black Sea-Caspian Sea region. These reactions are of a real significance
if one takes into account Russia's justifiable fear of China's growing
population, and its perception of China as a cooperative partner in
the economic and military areas. While China believes the NATO-Russia
Council may have positive consequences for Europe, Beijing insists on
a new world system of security. The NATO-Russia relations are of no
concern for China in the short-term while the new institution constitutes
itself. An expansion of NATO to include Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan will
be viewed with much greater concern. China will probably try to balance
this new alliance of Russia's with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
(SCO), which brings together Russia, China, and several Central Asian
states. For China, Russia's speedy support for the anti-terror coalition
and its low-profile reaction to the US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty
have come rather as a surprise. China believes Russia is ridding itself
of the balancing role it used to have vis-à-vis the US in the
global strategic system. Thus, Sino-Russian strategic cooperation has
been weakened on a global scale. Further Chinese reactions will very
probably lead to improving the economic and trade ties between Beijing
major developments influenced geopolitical and geoeconomic trends affecting
the Black Sea-Caspian Sea region during the last three months: Russia's
relations with Iran, the establishment of the North-South corridor,
and the conflict in Kashmir.
Russia and Iran
continued their nuclear cooperation. During Iranian Foreign Minister
Seyed Kamal Kharrazi's visit to Moscow from 4-5 April, he stressed on
the important regional role of the bilateral cooperation. Agreements
of cooperation in fighting terrorism and for the construction of the
second unit of the Busher nuclear power plant were signed during the
visit. On 29 April Iranian officials repeated their thesis that the
Caspian region should be for the Caspian states and that the presence
of foreigners complicates the situation. Iran preserves its conservative
view of the need for 20 per cent division of the Caspian Sea among the
five coastal states. On 30 April the Iranian President said in Bishkek,
Kyrgyzstan that the Caspian region may turn into an area of confrontation
and crisis due to the involvement of the big powers with their competing
interests. On 24 May the Russian President declared to his US counterpart
in Moscow that the Russian-Iranian cooperation does not undermine the
non-proliferation process, while displaying concern of the Taiwan's
missile program. Putin added that weapons of mass destruction (WMD)
in the hands of non-transparent governments run by radical functionaries
are dangerous for both Russia and the US. These declarations raise the
questions of how radical Iranian Islamists are, and to what extent the
Iranian government is transparent. Another question is the extent to
which Iran is ready to join the process of region-building in the Caspian
area in cooperation with all interested local and external actors? It
is rather naive to close the Caspian region for the littoral states
only, while developing the East-West and the North-South corridors crossing
the same region.
The next development
was the official establishment of the North-South corridor by Russia,
Iran, and India on 21 May. The three countries consider this corridor
to be an alternative to the route of delivering loads from East to West.
Other countries (mainly Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania,
Finland, and several Persian Gulf states) have shown interest in participating
in this project, which was started four years ago. Container transportation
will be a specific area of cooperation along the corridor that originates
near the Indian Ocean, then passes through the Caspian area and Russia,
and ends in northwestern Europe.
Kashmir conflict has increased the danger of a nuclear exchange between
India and Pakistan, which are adjacent to the Caspian Sea region. While
India has always opposed mediation on Kashmir, it agreed during a conference
in Kazakhstan in June that Russian President Putin could play such a
role. The Kazakh summit passed without a face-to-face meeting between
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistan's ruler, General
Pervez Musharraf. This was to allow an ease in the bilateral tensions
and a pullback of the two sides from the brink of war. This mediation
added to similar efforts of UK and US high-level officials.
During the past three months, local and external actors have continued to devote special attention to the Black Sea-Caspian Sea region within the global counter-terrorist campaign. In the case of Russia, counter-terrorist policy has been a significant integrating factor for the CIS. It has been also a major pillar in improving the relationship with the US and NATO.
6) US-Azerbaijan, Armenia. Armenia and Azerbaijan will each receive US$4.4 million of military aid for their cooperation in the war against terrorism, US President Bush announced on 23 April . This was confirmed in a memorandum of the president to Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Kazakh Defense Minister Mukhtar Altynbayev told the press on 29 April
that Kazakhstan will provide three air-fields for the anti-terrorist
coalition aircraft. The statement followed a meeting between the defense
minister with US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on 28 April. The
airfields will be used in emergencies or other extraordinary situations.
9) Turkey-Azerbaijan-Georgia. The presidents of the three countries, Ahmed Sezer, Heidar Aliev, and Eduard Shevardnadze, met in Trabzon, Turkey on 29 April and discussed their cooperation in combating terrorism. The three leaders consider stability in the region to be of key importance to the construction and functioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil-pipeline. On 30 April, the ministers of the interior of the three states signed a trilateral agreement that regulates the anti-terrorist cooperation as well as the fight against crime and drug trafficking.
Continued Presence in Afghanistan. The UN Security Council voted
on 24 May to keep the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
in Afghanistan for another six months, but focusing only on Kabul and
not on missions outside the capital. The resolution extends the ISAF
mandate until mid-December. The peacekeeping mission outside the capital
cannot start before the US concludes its hunt for al-Qaida militants
in the country.
(1) On 23 May, law enforcement ministers and heads of secret services
of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization met in Alma-Ata and approved
an agreement that provides for the establishment of a regional anti-terrorist
structure. This structure will be basis for practical measures against
terrorism, separatism, and extremism in the SCO states. The agreement
states that the territories of the respective countries will not be
used for carrying out any kind of activity causing damage to each others'
sovereignty, territorial integrity, or public security. (2) At the beginning
of June, the heads of states of the SCO signed a political declaration
and an arrangement for the formal establishment of a regional anti-terrorist
structure - the first treaty to regulate a permanent functioning institution
of SCO. Because of the present tensions between India and Pakistan,
the initially planned involvement of these two states has been postponed.
During a 7 June meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Brussels,
NATO defense ministers commended Ukraine for its "practical contribution"
to allied efforts in the international fight against terrorism and underlined
their common desire to develop their relationship to a qualitatively
new level. Ukraine has helped with military transport aviation for deploying
NATO troops in Afghanistan by opening its airspace to NATO aircraft
participating in the anti-terrorist campaign.
According to Turkish Foreign Ministry sources, Turkey expressed concerns on 6 June over the 1'300 km-range missile test conducted by Iran. The Turkish declaration deplored the fact that Iran's test of the Shahab-3 missile does not contribute to regional and global security and stability.
Russia and Kazakhstan
signed an agreement on 9 April on delimiting the Caspian seabed and
exploiting its resources. Iranian Foreign Minister Seyed Kamal Kharrazi
visited Azerbaijan on 11 April and discussed the legal status of the
Caspian Sea. The deputy foreign ministers of the Caspian littoral states
(Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Russia) met in Ashgabat
on 22 April to draft a summit declaration. The presidents of the five
Caspian Sea states failed to reach an agreement on the legal status
of the sea and to sign a final joint declaration on 24 April. Russia
proposed holding the next Caspian summit in Tehran. Iranian President
Mohammad Khatami said on 23 April that common sovereignty over the Caspian
Sea was the best choice for the littoral states. Iran expects that the
other four Caspian states will not operate in the 20 per cent of the
sea that Tehran regards as its minimum share of the seabed and the surface
in the case of a division. According to the Russian president, the Caspian
seabed should be shared and the water must remain common. According
to Putin, the legal status must be decided by consensus. Splitting the
Caspian Sea into five seas, Putin says, would be a great mistake. In
the aftermath of the summit, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan decided to
start discussing the controversies over the offshore oil and gas deposits
of the Caspian Sea. If the two countries should fail to agree, they
would turn to international organizations for mediation, President Niyazov
of Turkmenistan said on 26 April.
of Russia and Kazakhstan signed a supplementary document to a bilateral
agreement on the division of the northern part of the Caspian Sea in
Moscow on 13 May. Its aim was to clearly define the scope of sovereign
mining rights. On 14 May, Baku ratified the agreement on delimitation
of the Caspian seabed between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, signed on 29
November 2001 in Moscow. Azeri President Heidar Aliev visited Iran from
20-22 May for talks on the division of the Caspian Sea. Iran has massive
oil reserves elsewhere and opposes the pressure of Western foreign energy
companies in the area. Unlike Azerbaijan and other littoral states,
Iran is in no hurry to exploit the oil deposits. This is why the Iranian
position of accusing foreigners, while claiming the Caspian Sea must
be a sea of peace and cooperation, is widely perceived as hypocritical.
Russia and Azerbaijan
are close to agreeing on the defining principle of dividing the seabed
and on the co-ordinates of the median line. The co-ordinates of the
median line were already agreed earlier. The principles of division
are the same as those applied in the Russia-Kazakhstan agreement. The
Azeri authorities consider the agreement between Russia, Kazakhstan,
and Azerbaijan on the division of the Caspian Sea to be a good basis
for establishing the legal status of the Caspian Sea. Turkmenistan generally
agrees with the principle of the median line, though it still contests
the method of its establishment. A continuation of the Iran-Azerbaijan
dialogue on this issue is expected in July this year.
reached between the three countries have given rise to hopes that safe
transportation of oil from the energy-rich region will start soon. However,
it is not yet clear what the cost of isolation in the issue of Caspian
Sea delimitation will be for Turkmenistan and Iran . They may soften
their position, but they may likewise delay the resolution of the issue.
During a visit to Iran on 21 June, the Russian special envoy for Caspian
Sea affairs, Viktor Kaluzny, having discussed legal issues with his
Iranian counterpart, Mahdi Safari, proposed that the next summit of
the Caspian working group (scheduled for July this year) be held in
Tehran. Iran continues to oppose bilateral agreements on the sea as
counterproductive to the establishment of a common legal regime. Unlike
the Iranian side, Kazakhstan has decided that in the absence of legal
clarity, differences should be settled on a bilateral basis with the
rest of the coastal states.
A number of
oil and gas production or transportation projects have been developed
in the last three months:
government officials of Azerbaijan and Russia agreed on 9 April in Baku
to cooperate in the transit of Azeri oil via Russian territory and the
delivery of Russian gas to Azerbaijan.
on the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline will begin in July. At the end of May,
the Russian oil company LUKoil refused to take part in the construction
of the pipeline due to the rejection of the company's bid for ten per
cent of the Shah Deniz gas field by the Azeri side. In the first days
of June, theEuropean Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
decided to finance 10 per cent of the whole project, totaling about
300 million until the end of 2002. TotalFinaElf signed an agreement
with the sponsor group of the BTC Pipeline Project on 13 June which
gives it a 5 per cent share in the pipeline company.
4) The presidents
of Turkmenistan and Ukraine, Saparmurat Niyazov and Leonid Kuchma, signed
agreements in Ashgabat on 29 April governing the delivery of Turkmen
gas to Kiev in 2003.
discussed possibilities of transit and trade of gas and oil with Iran
and India in April and June respectively.
6) Iran proposed
joint gas production and transportation projects to Azerbaijan, Turkey,
and Turkmenistan in the beginning of June.
7) The Russian and Kazakh presidents, Putin and Nazarbaev, signed long-term agreements in Moscow on 10 June on the transit of Kazakh oil and natural gas via Russian territory to Western Europe.
(1) In his annual statement to the Federal Assembly on 18 April, Russian President Putin outlined his government policy regarding Chechnya: continuation of the present policy of pacification; military-police operations for keeping the order; no political negotiations with armed groups; holding elections and drafting a constitution for the republic, and reconstructing the economy and the social sphere. (2) Russian media sources reported that on 25 April, Russian troops in Chechnya killed one of the country's most wanted terrorists - field-commander Khattab, a Jordanian-born leader of Chechen rebels. Moscow claims he has had close ties to Osama bin Laden. On the Russian side, an Arab agent of Russian counter-intelligence, recruited earlier in one of the CIS countries, participated in the assassination operation.
Efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group to re-activate the negotiation process for Nagorno Karabakh and get out of the current impasse continued in May. The OSCE briefed Iranian officials on the issue after Iran had voiced an interest in helping to find a resolution to the conflict. Azeri experts in April expressed their confidence that the US military involvement in the Caucasus could promote the process of settlement, while Armenian foreign affairs officials are looking for a package solution to the complicated issue. The presidents of Russia and the US discussed the conflict in May during George Bush's visit to Moscow.
1) After a scandalous election campaign that saw two candidates assassinated and 40, including one international observer, beaten, Viktor Yushchenko, a pro-Western and pro-capitalist candidate emerged as the winner of the parliamentary elections. His party - "Our Ukraine" won 23.46 per cent of the votes. Former deputy prime minister Julia Timoshenko won 7.21 per cent of the votes. The Communist Party reached 20.03 per cent, and the pro-presidential party 12.16 per cent. Eastern and Southern Ukraine voted for the pro-Russian parties, and Western Ukraine for the pro-Western ones. The parliamentary vote was largely in preparation for the presidential elections coming up in two years. (2) On 26 May, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine decided to start a process aimed at joining NATO. Neutrality no longer makes sense for Ukraine after 11 September 2001 and after the launch of the NATO-Russia Council on 28 May 2002. Analysts consider the shift in policy an effort by President Kuchma to emerge from the international isolation he has experienced during the last year.
(1) In the annual
presidential statement to the Federal Assembly on 18 April, Putin announced
a strengthening of the competences of the federal districts by giving
them more financial and personnel responsibilities; by stimulation of
the insurance business; by decreasing restrictions on small businesses,
and by selling cheap state property that cannot be managed effectively.
(2) On 12 June, the Day of Sovereignty in Russia, Putin said Russia
was living in peace with the rest of the world for the first time in
decades and no longer had enemies. (3) The State Duma in June adopted
the Law on Alternative Military Service, which will come into force
on 1 January 2003.
a) Armenia-Georgia. The Georgian Chief of the General Staff, Joni Pirtskhalaishvili, visited Yerevan from 3-5 April and signed a protocol on military cooperation with his counterpart Mikael Harutiunian.
f) Georgia-Russia. Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagarishvili on 19 April demanded that Russia's withdrawal from its military bases in Batumi and Akhalkalaki end this year. Russia wants to stay for seven more years.
On 15 May and 10 June, Turkish General Staff delegations visited Georgia
and provided financial supportto the Georgian armed forces.
Turkey and Azerbaijan on 16 May signed agreements on bilateral military
aid and financial help for Azerbaijan's Ministry of Defense.
According to a Russian Defense Ministry statement of 5 June, the chief
of the Turkish General Staff, General Hüseyin Kivrikoglu met with
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and with the Chief of Staff of
the Russian armed forces, General Anatolii Kvashnin. They discussed
bilateral military and military-technical cooperation. According to
Turkish sources, they also discussed cooperation in the fight against
terrorism and the issue of Chechnya.
On 30 April the presidents of the three countries, Ahmed Sezer, Heidar
Aliev, and Eduard Shevardnadze, signed a security pact aimed at protecting
from terrorist attacks an oil pipeline worth US$2.9 billion and 1'730
km long, to be constructed through the three countries in the turbulent
region. The signing procedure took place in the Turkish city of Trabzon.
The foreign ministers of the three countries, Ismail Cem, Vartan Oskanian,
and Vilayat Guliyev, held their first trilateral meeting on 15 May during
the NATO meeting of foreign ministers in Reykjavik. One of the main
topics of the discussions was future security cooperation.
(1) The emergency ministers of the SCO (Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) met in St Petersburg on 19 April and signed
a cooperation agreement. (2) The SCO foreign ministers met in Moscow
on 26 April. (3) In mid-May, the SCO defense ministers failed to agree
at their meeting in Moscow on the launch of a joint military command
after Uzbekistan refrained from sending a representative. China perceives
the SCO as a counter-balance to NATO. (4) The SCO trade ministers met
in Shanghai from 28-29 May to discuss the launch of economic and trade
cooperation. According to the Chinese authorities, this will be a contribution
to regional stability and economic development of the member states.
3. CIS Collective Security Treaty (CST)
In the last
three months, regular consultations continued on military and technical
cooperation within the CST. Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
and Tajikistan decided on 14 May to turn their military alliance (which
was formed in 1992) into a formal organization. President Vladimir Putin
hosted the presidents of the respective countries in Moscow. The aim
of the decision was to balance the launch of the NATO-Russia Council
on 28 May in Rome in Russian public opinion.
on 13 June to leave the regional alliance of Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan,
Azerbaijan, and Moldova. The Uzbek decision could have been prompted
by the fact that GUUAM's tasks have been fulfilled: preventing the CIS
from turning into a new 'Warsaw Pact' and preventing further convergence
between Russia and NATO. When Uzbekistan joined in 1999, the move was
designed by Tashkent as a counter-balance to then president Yeltsin's
assertive behavior. Furthermore, the economic incentives Russia offers
its former allies seem more attractive than the empty shell of GUUAM.
On 27 June, Uzbekistan clarified its position by saying it had only
"suspended" its membership in GUUAM.
Sea Bank-Armenia. The Black Sea Trade and Development Bank will
start funding small and medium-sized business in Armenia next year.
An office of the BSTDB will open in Armenia.
The US started two agricultural projects in April, each worth US$5 million.
The projects aim to subsidize exports of food and agricultural products
from the US to Azerbaijan.
Greece and Azerbaijan signed an agreement on cooperation in the gas
sector at the end of April. The minister of development of Greece, Akis
Tsohatzopoulos and the minister of fuel and energy of Azerbaijan, Macid
Karimov, agreed that conditions were suitable for the transfer of Azeri
gas to Greece through Turkey.
On 24 May, the EBRD agreed to assist Armenian small and medium businesses
following the bank's 11th annual meeting in Bucharest.
A summit session of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation
was convened on 25 June in Istanbul, marking the 10th anniversary of
the cooperation. The state leaders declared their desire to continue
the development of OBSEC.
Black Sea Navy. For the first time in several years, the Russian
Black Sea Navy flagship Moskva will lead a small group of ships on a
tour of the Mediterranean Sea, including visits to France and Greece.
The tour indicates that the navy is enjoying an improved financial situation,
and is capable of funding training of that magnitude.
A planning group meeting of the coastal navy group took place in Sevastopol
on 5 June. Countering terrorist activities was discussed during the
meeting. The deployment of the naval group and corresponding training
and exercises are planned in the western part of the Black Sea for 5-28
August. The BLACKSEAFOR vessels will visit the ports of Sevastopol,
Constanta, Varna, and Istanbul.
The EU made a strong political gesture on 29 May by announcing that
it would be granting Russia the formal status and treatment of a fully-fledged
"market economy". The gesture is in recognition of the reforms
Russia has successfully undertaken in the recent years. The measure
will facilitate Russia's entry to the WTO.
Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian met with the High Representative
of the EU for Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, and with the
European Commissioner on Foreign Affairs, Chris Patten, in Brussels
on 4 and 6 June respectively. They discussed bilateral and regional
issues, the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh, energy security, and relations
between Armenia and Turkey.
(1) The "Cooperative Best Effort - 2002 " military exercise
was conducted from 17-28 June at Vaziani military base with the participation
of 6 NATO (Canada, Greece, Hungary, Turkey, the UK, and US) and 9 partner
countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Austria, Bulgaria, Georgia, Lithuania,
Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine). The CBE 2002 is the main annual field
training exercise at multinational small unit level in the Southern
Region in the framework of the PfP. CINCSOUTH Admiral Gregory Johnson
scheduled the exercise and it was executed by COMJCSOUTHEAST, General
Oktar Ataman. Russia did not join the exercise.
(1) NATO's parliamentary assembly granted observer status to Armenia,
according to announcement by Rafael Estrella, the assembly's president,
on 15 May in Yerevan. (2) It was announced on 11 June that Armenia will
host the CBE-2003 PfP exercise.
The secretary of the Georgian Security Council, Tedo Japaridze, began
a visit to the US on 8 April. He met officials from the Department of
State, the White House, and other institutions.
The president of Armenia, Robert Kocharian, met with the US envoys to
Yerevan and Baku, John Ordway and Ross Wilson, in Yerevan on 9 April.
Regional issues and especially the Nagorno Karabakh conflict were discussed.
The US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Ross Wilson, said on 7 June that the
US would strengthen its military cooperation with Baku on four main
issues: air and water borders; security; cooperation in the deployment
of peacekeeping forces; and English language training.
On 22-23 May, Pope John-Paul II visited Azerbaijan and the 100 residing Catholics of this country. He wished a fast and peaceful solution to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
major shifts in US-Russian and NATO-Russian relations have an influence
on all significant global factors as well as all regional tendencies.
The improved geostrategic environment provides better opportunities
for organizing all potential actors in the fight against terrorism -
both in the region and on a global scale. The new global security environment
facilitates the development of energy production and transportation
projects in a more rational way, with satisfaction of all parties' interests.
The diverging positions of the US and Russia concerning the role of
Iran in the region and on a broader scale bear both destructive and
constructive potential. The intensified efforts to find a sound legal
solution to the Caspian Sea delimitation have led to some interim results,
but the consent of all littoral states is still required to boost the
economic activity in the area.
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