On 11 September the world marked the second anniversary of the tragic
events in the US – the terrorist attacks on the most powerful nation
and on civilization. The fight on terrorism is one of the most characteristic
features of the security profile of the Black Sea-Caspian Sea region.
Not only the acts of terror by Chechens contribute to this new featuring
of the vast region, but also a more mature cooperation between Russia,
the US, and the United Kingdom in their joint battle on terrorism. The
meeting between US President Bush and Russian President Putin at Camp
David on 26-27 September confirmed the readiness of the two powers to
cooperate in the fight on terrorism. The meeting gained significance
after the Russian president’s speech at the UN General Assembly, where
he did not argue against the US position in the Iraqi issue, mainly
concerning the role of the UN in the decision on the invasion, the assumption
of responsibilities by the Iraqis, and so on. The Russian president
expects meaningful US investments in the Russian economy that would
lead to improving the social situation on the eve of the Russian presidential
elections in March 2004. Chechnya was also on the bilateral agenda in
Camp David, though the focus of the visit was on the joint fight against
terrorism. An important addition to this specificity in the Black Sea-Caspian
Sea area is the closeness to the broader region of the Middle East,
actually, an adjacent region to this one. The Middle East turned into
a very dangerous nexus of anti-Western ideologies, terrorism and weapons
of mass destruction (WMD). Afghanistan and Iraq are crucial geopolitical
territories that can influence much broader areas of the Middle East
– a proven stronghold and generator of devoted terrorists, including
suicide-killers. The Black Sea-Caspian Sea countries have not only experienced
the shocks of terrorist activities, but also contribute to the counter-terrorism
fight and to the post-conflict peacekeeping efforts in Afghanistan and
Iraq. In the last three months Ukraine, Georgia, and Kazakhstan provided
military units to oversee the security situation in Iraq, supporting
the efforts of the coalition forces.
Apart from terrorism, the nuclear weapons threat was the focus the political
attention in the Black Sea-Caspian Sea region in the last three months.
During this period, Iran, an important regional force, could not prove
to the international community its commitment to creating an indigenous
fuel cycle that would not lead to developing nuclear arms. The continuing
dispute with the IAEA, whose verification regime Tehran continues to
reject, is a strong signal of impending danger to the outside world
and those who provide Iran with technical assistance. The IAEA is a
key element of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. At the end of August
and in the beginning of September, the IAEA provided compelling evidence
regarding Iran’s safeguards violations and failures, its ongoing efforts
to hide and deny nuclear activities to the IAEA, and its refusal to
cooperate fully with inspectors. The Secretary General of IAEA, Dr.
Mohamed El Baradei presented three simple requests that Iran has failed
to fulfill: 1) Provide a complete list of imported equipment and components
believed to have been contaminated with highly enriched uranium; 2)
Resolve questions about its testing of gas centrifuges, and, 3) Provide
complete information on its uranium conversion experiments.
While the US and Russia have reached an agreement on a common agenda
in fighting terrorism, reaching agreement on how to deal concretely
with WMD has proven more difficult. This was the assessment of US Ambassador
to Moscow, Alexander Vershbow on 28 June at the International Workshop
on Global Security in the Russian capital. On 17 July, the US and Russia
signed agreements that would allow access to traditionally closed cities
of the Russian nuclear complex – Seversk and Zheleznogorsk – so that
work can begin on the task of shutting down three weapons-grade plutonium
production reactors. As part of the agreement the US Department of Energy
and its partners in Russia will provide coal-fired heat and electricity
plants to replace the reactors.
On 20 July Iran demonstrated its missile potential with its new ballistic
“Shahab-3” missiles with a 1’300km-range. They were shown during a military
parade in Tehran. The demonstration was linked by Iranian propaganda
to the need to improve the defense of the ‘Palestinian cause’. It is
a fact, however, that the 1’300-km range of the missile covers Europe,
the CIS, and the Middle East.
Earlier, on 30 June, Russia had stepped up pressure on Iran to submit
to more detailed international scrutiny of its nuclear program. Russia
insisted that its Iranian partners adhere to the “additional protocol”
of the IAEA. Iran’s behavior in practice, however, contradicts this
Russian position, and the question is how Russia will react to this
new situation. The IAEA on 12 September gave Iran a 31 October deadline
to prove it does not have a secret nuclear-weapons program. The Iranian
delegation left the meeting of the agency in indignation. After the
deadline, it could be illegal for countries like Russia to share nuclear
technology with Iran. The deadline follows the discovery by IAEA inspectors
of minute traces of weapons-grade, highly enriched uranium at a facility
in Iran. According to Tehran, the traces came from imported equipment.
Iran is more and more inclined to believe the US is planning an attack
on it, as was the case with Iraq. However, Iran has to back up its claims
to be a fervent subscriber to the nuclear non-proliferation regime with
In another development involving nuclear issues in the Black Sea-Caspian
Sea region, Japan is also taking measures to become deal with nuclear
threats by eventually launching a preventive strike. In the next three
years, Tokyo should have a contingency capability similar to North Korea.
This marks a radical change from Japan’s security policy after the end
of the Second World War.
The Black Sea-Caspian Sea region was also influenced in the last three
months by efforts to realize the strategic project of a North-South
corridor. The Iranian Ambassador to Russia confirmed on 25 July in Moscow
that his country wanted to participate in its construction. A timely
resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would be in the interest
of both Iran and Russia, the Ambassador said. This would lead to opening
the railroads in the Northern Caucasus and access for Iranian goods
to the regional markets. The other signatories to the Treaty of the
North-South Corridor besides Iran and Russia are Kazakhstan, India,
and Belarus. Tajikistan and Oman are expected to join the project in
the near future. High-level Iranian and Russian officials in Tehran
on 7 August discussed opening the terminal complexes to process transit
cargo from of Russian and Iranian ports. The talks were in the context
of the bilateral working group on the North-South corridor.
Other conflicts or unresolved issues in the last three months included
the legal status of the Caspian Sea, where more negotiations are required
to settle the issue; Chechnya, where tensions on the eve of the presidential
elections were heightened by the efforts of separatists to enlarge the
area and involve other North Caucasian territories; Transdniester, where
the EU this month tried to get involved as a peacekeeping power and
stimulate the stability of the area; the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is
still dominated by domestic developments in Azerbaijan and Armenia.
The policy of the new Azeri president will prove crucial in this respect.
Generally, political processes in the region reflect problems that originated
in the difficult transition of the Black Sea-Caspian Sea countries to
There have been some significant events in the regional energy sector
in the last three months. Western and US interest in Russia’s energy
resources is growing together with a desire to reduce their dependence
on the oil reserves of the Middle East. Russia is also getting nearer
to the Western partners, but the question is whether there will be a
limit to that if OPEC is also to remain Russia’s partner in the difficult
oil trading business.
The period was also interesting for the developments in the CIS and
GUUAM. Russia is determined to use old, but crucial military bases on
the CIS territory for the present and future. GUUAM, on the other hand,
is not yet effectively implementing key projects that would bring more
political and economic muscle to the structure. The EU intensified its
institutional presence in the region, and NATO continued its well-targeted
and effective PfP activities. There are welcome signs of improvements
in US-Ukrainian relations, but yet it remains to be seen how far they
can move in the context of broader and more complicated configurations
Background Profile of the Black Sea-Caspian Sea Area: Sources
1. Terrorism/Post-Conflict Rehabilitation
in Afghanistan and Iraq
a) Chechen Terrorism. Fifteen people were killed and
60 wounded on 5 July when two women of the Chechen ‘black widows’ detonated
themselves at the entrance of a rock concert in Tushino, a suburb of
Moscow. US President Bush, like many other world leaders, condemned
the terrorist act and extended his condolences to the relatives of the
victims. In recent years Chechen separatist forces degraded their influence
and those left get money from international terrorist organizations.
This money has to be justified by real terrorist acts. Finding ways
to cut the import of Palestinian terrorist methods would require from
Russia to find ways of further collaboration with Israel and the US.
b) Russian-French Counter-terrorist Cooperation. On
8 July Russia and France agreed to create a permanent group of diplomats
and intelligence officials to combat international terrorism. The group
will take up its work beginning in autumn of this year.
c) US-Russia Counter-Terrorism Working Group. The group
held its tenth session on 22-23 July in Williamsburg, Virginia, co-chaired
by US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Russian First Deputy
Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov. The delegations discussed key
counter-terrorism issues, including blocking terrorist financing, threats
to security resulting from the production and trafficking of illicit
drugs, and concrete measures to counteract the potential use of biological,
nuclear, or radiological material for terrorist purposes. They also
examined developments in Afghanistan, Central Asia, the Caucasus and
the Balkans. The two sides reaffirmed their strong determination to
intensify the fight against terrorism in accordance with the UN Charter
and international law.
d) Russia-Northern Caucasus. On 1 August, a lorry suicide
bomb completely destroyed a military hospital in Mozdak, North Ossetia,
causing more than 70 deaths. Mozdak is on the border with Chechnya and
is a war zone. The Russian military was criticised for poor safety measures.
e) Georgia-Iraq. On 3 August, 69 Georgian troops (34
commandos, 20 military medics and 15 mine-sweepers) left for Iraq and
joined the coalition forces. They were based at the US base at Tikrit.
f) US-Russia. The US decided on 8 August to freeze
all financial assets belonging to Chechen field-commander Shamil Basaev
after classifying his ’Riyadis-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage
Battalion’ as a terrorist organization. Russia commended the decision.
President Putin and President Bush met on 26 September at Camp David
and confirmed their commitment to stand united in the fight on terror.
g) US-Russia-UK. US authorities on 12 August arrested
a British citizen in New Arc, New Jersey attempting to sell a Russian
shoulder-fired ’Igla’ (‘Grouse’) anti-aircraft missile to undercover
investigators who posed as potential terrorists. The arrest was the
result of a joint operation of the FBI, the Russian Federal Security
Service (FSB), and the UK’s MI-5. The operation was prepared some 12
months after Russia allowed an FBI cover-agent to operate on Russian
territory. Key components of the weapon, imported from Russia, had been
removed by the Russian authorities to render it inoperable. The UK citizen
appeared to be primarily a smuggler rather than a terrorist. This operation
marks a new, higher level of cooperation of the three services in their
joint fight against terrorism and is the first of its kind after the
end of the Cold War. The target of such a dangerous anti-aircraft weapon
could be the US President’s Air Force One. ‘Igla’ is 10.8kg heavy, it
requires 13 seconds to be operational, and its operational ceiling is
from 10 to 3’500m altitude. This operation demonstrated the potential
of the trilateral cooperation against terrorism.
h) Kazakhstan-Iraq. On 19 August 31 Kazakh soldiers
left for six months service to Iraq as occupation troops with the coalition
forces. Earlier, in mid-July, Kazakh counter-terrorist services had
neutralized the activities of the Islamic Party of Eastern Turkestan
(IPET) – a terrorist organization that also operates in parts of Afghanistan,
Iran, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.
i) NATO-Russia. The NATO-Russia Council met on 23 July
at ambassadors’ level and condemned the recent acts of terror in Russia
(and Spain). The participants in the meeting confirmed their will to
cooperate in fighting the evil.
j) Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). On 6-12
August an anti-terrorist exercise took place on the territories of Kazakhstan
and China in the context of the SCO. Military units from the two countries
and from Kyrgyzstan were activated for the exercise.
k) Ukraine. 1’800 Ukrainian troops left for duty in
Iraq. They are part of the Polish command sector in Southern and Central
Iraq. Ukrainian participation in the campaign faces strong domestic
opposition. US President Bush thanked Ukraine for sending troops to
take part in the occupation force in Iraq and pledged to help the country
in its efforts to join both NATO and EU. A 500-strong Ukrainian chemical
decontamination unit has also been in neighboring Kuwait since April.
On 2 September, the defense ministers of Ukraine and Poland, Evheny
Marchuk and Jerzy Szmajdzinski, voiced their confidence that their troops
would bring stability to Iraq despite the increasing dangers.
2. The Delimitation of the Caspian Sea and
the Black Sea: the Caspian Sea
Kazakhstan on 4 July adopted a ratification law on the treaty with Azerbaijan
on the delimitation of the Caspian Sea, and a protocol to this treaty.
The Kazakh parliament ratified this treaty in June. The treaty was signed
in Moscow on 29 November 2001. It stipulates that the Caspian Sea floor
and its subsoil deposits are to be divided between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan
along a median line, whose geographic description and coordinates are
set out on the protocol to the treaty. The protocol was signed in Baku
on 27 February 2003. Kazakhstan has signed and ratified analogous documents
on delimitating the Caspian Sea floor with Russia. Talks on the issue
with Turkmenistan continue. Foreign Ministers of the Caspian Sea riparian
states are in working contact to draft the legal status of the sea.
3. Oil and Gas Issues
a) Russia-BP. British oil giant British Petroleum (BP)
signed an investment agreement deal with Russia on 26 June in London
worth over US$6 billion. The BP deal and a US$10 billion offshore investment
by rival Royal Dutch Shell in Siberia are signs of growing western investor
confidence in Russian economic reforms and highlight the demand for
Russia’s oil and gas among industrialized nations, who are becoming
increasingly nervous about the security of Middle Eastern energy supplies.
Western nations want to draw Russia closer to them, but Russia may still
think it needs to stay in good relations with OPEC when hard times return
b) Blue Stream Pipeline Project. Russia’s Gazprom gas
giant announced on 3 July that it was lowering the prices and volumes
of gas supplies to Turkey via the Blue Stream pipeline. This was announced
after two weeks of negotiations with the Turkish state-controlled Bota
pipeline company. The two sides’ disagreement may be resolved in the
courtroom or by Gazprom agreeing to accept the pressure of the Turkish
side and thus establish a bad precedent.
c) Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline. Azerbaijan,
Turkey, and Georgia on 23 July signed an agreement to ensure the safety
of pipelines crossing their territory. The first part of the project
was constructed in the end of July on the territory of Azerbaijan. Sixty-eight
per cent of the needed pipes were already shipped to Azerbaijan.
d) Georgia-Russia. On 29 July, Georgian President Shevardnadze
said that his country had no other sources of gas supply than Russia.
Neither Turkey nor Armenia have gas reserves, and Azerbaijan itself
imports 5-6 billion m³ of gas. As for Kazakhstan – it is a source,
but a far-away one. This explained the signing of the agreement between
Russian Gazprom and the Georgian government on cooperation in the gas
trade, the president said. The agreement runs for 25 years and will
assure that Georgia receives large supplies of gas from Russia. The
price of the deliveries will be fixed in additional contracts.
e) US-Russia-Georgia. At the beginning of August, the
US company running the Georgian electricity system sold its share to
the Russian power giant UES. This deal sparked a passionate row about
the fate of the country’s energy sector and Russia’s increasing economic
role (see: www.isn.ethz.ch/infoservice/indepth.cfm?sNewsID=7172)
f) Russia. The anti-monopoly ministry of Russia on
14 August approved the merger of Yukos and Sibneft. This merger led
to the creation of the world’s fourth largest oil producer. The approval
was given on condition that the merger would be completed by the end
of 2003 and that it would prevent abuse of dominant position.
g) US-Russia. On 21-25 September US Commerce Secretary
Don Evans carried out a business development mission to St. Petersburg
and Moscow. Top business officials from 13 US energy and energy-related
firms accompanied the senior official. The trade mission was a result
of a 2002 Presidential summit between President Bush and President Putin
when the two leaders announced a new Energy Dialogue. Mission participants
joined the US-Russia Commercial Energy summit in St. Petersburg, which
was follow-on to the last year’s Houston energy summit. During the visit
of the US delegation, Russia’s Gazprom announced it was hoping to cooperate
with ConocoPhillips on a US$10 billion joint venture to send liquefied
natural gas to the US market. Russia is the world’s biggest producer
of natural gas and holds the largest gas reserves. Russia is already
successfully managing a contest of similar exports to Japan and China,
confirming the fundamental importance of the gas energy as an instrument
of Russian foreign policy.
CONFLICT AND POST-CONFLICT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE BLACK SEA AREA
Chechnya. (1) Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Ivanov said
on 16 July that there were 1’200-1’300 Chechen fighters active in Chechnya.
They were not ‘partners’ one could negotiate with, and Aslan Maskhadov
was among them. (2) On 21 July Aslan Maskhadov asked for international
support for ending the Chechen war by granting conditional independence
under international jurisdiction, despite Moscow’s rejection of international
mediation. (3) Six Russian soldiers were killed in a fierce firefight
with rebels on 21 July in the mountainous south of Chechnya. Six others
were injured. Also, the federal forces shot six rebels. (4) Russian
authorities and the OSCE decided on 30 July to resume cooperation on
Chechnya, a joint effort that had been interrupted after Russia refused
to extend the mandate of OSCE office there. (5) The head of the FSS
(FSB) secret police, Nikolai Patrushev, on 28 July handed over command
of the Chechnya operation launched in 2001 to Interior Minister Boris
Gryzlov. The effort to stamp out separatist rebels was renamed, and
is now described as an operation for ‘protecting law and constitutional
order’. In accordance with a presidential decree, the transfer of powers
to the Interior Ministry. Putin’s idea is to provide Chechnya with partial
autonomy. This decree also stipulated a greater role for Chechen policemen.
(6) On 30 July, the head of the Chechen Administration, Ahmed Kadyrov,
announced that he would enter the 5 October presidential elections as
an independent candidate. The Central Election Commission on 25 August
asked the Russian FSS (FSB) to provide protection for candidates in
these elections. (7) On 27 August, Magomedsalikh Gusaev, a top Dagestani
administration official and regional minister for national policy, information,
and external relations was killed by a car bomb as he left home for
work. The killing showed how easily the Chechen conflict can spill into
southern Russia – and the Caspian Sea region is mainly populated by
Muslims. (8) A truck packed with explosives blew up on 16 September
outside the regional FSB headquarters in Magas, the capital of the southern
republic of Ingushetia. The bomb killed several people and injured dozens.
Ingushetia borders on Chechnya, and the explosion appeared to confirm
the Chechen rebels’ intention of broadening the conflict to engulf the
whole North Caucasus area on the eve of the Chechen presidential elections
in October in Chechnya. Moscow hopes the elections will bolster Putin’s
policy of pacifying the troubled province. Ahmed Kadyrov is the only
contender after the other two candidates pulled out of the race – a
development that may yet prove unfortunate for the establishment of
democratic institutions after the elections.
Transdniester. (1) In the beginning of July,
Dutch Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairman Jaap de Hoop Scheffer proposed
to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly the deployment of an EU-supported
multinational peacekeeping contingent to Moldova, armed with light weapons
and acting in the interest of Moldova and Transdniester. The peacekeepers
could provide stability guarantees for a united Moldova with a federal
structure. Any EU peacekeeping operation in Transdniester would be highly
delicate, since Russia has 2’000 peacekeepers of its own stationed there.
The latter are not very effective, however, since Transdniester is a
haven for arms smuggling and organized crime; it serves as an export
hub to the Balkans and Western Europe for a variety of criminal activities,
including trafficking in narcotics and human beings. If the EU dispatched
peacekeepers to Transdniester, it would be a first step towards the
EU goal of securing its own neighborhood. (2) On 14 August Moldovan
and Transdnistrian military forces took their first demilitarization
steps in many years by together withdrawing 37 armored vehicles from
the Security Zone – the area, separating the two sides since the end
of the 1992 conflict. 34 armored units were removed on 21-22 August.
These withdrawals were significant confidence-building steps between
the two sides. In April 2001 OSCE military specialists have concluded
there is no operational peacekeeping necessity for heavy armored vehicles
to be deployed in the area.
3. Nagorno Karabakh. Armenian President
Robert Kocharian met with French President Jacques Chirac on 16 July
in Paris and discussed ways of settling the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Armenian president thinks the peace process could be activated after
the presidential elections in Azerbaijan. France is a co-chair in the
OSCE Minsk group of countries for the Nagorno Karabakh conflict alongside
with Russia and the US. Ilham Aliev, Azerbaijan’s president-in-waiting,
on 15 August ruled out any compromise with Armenia over Nagorno Karabakh.
He also ruled out any resumption of normal trade with Yerevan.
THE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: SPECIFIC DEVELOPMENTS
Ukraine. (1) Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Evhen Marchuk
was appointed minister of defense by President Leonid Kuchma on 25 June.
Former defense minister Volodimir Skidchenko was dismissed for slowing
down the defense reform of the country. (2) On 23 August, Kuchma appealed
for the parliament’s approval of the nation’s presidential elections.
(3) Kuchma appointed Ukraine’s ambassador to the US as the country’s
new foreign minister on 2 September. The appointment of Konstantin Hrischenko
(49), a career diplomat, aims at improving Ukraine’s relations with
Washington and with the West in general. Former foreign minister Anatoly
Zlenko retired at age 65 – the mandatory retirement age for Ukrainian
2. Russia. Russian President Putin on 22 July signed
into law the decree “For the Organization of an Alternative Civil Service”.
It will enter into force on 1 January 2004 simultaneously with the respective
law. The ministries responsible for the implementation of the law will
be the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Labor. The Ministry of
Emergency Situations will also be involved inthe implementation of this
law. The alternative service will be three and a half years. The first
recruits will be called up for alternative service in the autumn of
3. Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan’s parliament on 4 August
approved President Heidar Aliev’s son, Ilham Aliev, as the new prime
minister. Opposition parties boycotted the parliamentary vote and accused
Heidar Aliev of engineering his son’s dynastic succession. According
to the Azeri Constitution, the prime minister becomes acting president
in the event that the president is incapacitated or resigns.
4. Georgia. The former commander of Georgia’s army,
Nika Janjgava, said on 6 August that the level of corruption in the
Defense Ministry of Georgia was negatively affecting the transformation
of the armed forces to meet NATO standards. He said the US was dissatisfied
with the situation in the Georgian armed forces.
AND MULTILATERAL RELATIONS IN THE BLACK SEA REGION, STATE OF CIS AND
a) Bulgaria-Armenia. Armenian President Robert Kocharian paid
an official visit to Bulgaria on 8-10 September and met with Bulgarian
President Georgy Parvanov. The Armenian president met in Plovdiv with
representatives of the Armenian community in Bulgaria – a well-settled,
vibrant, and respected ethnic group in the country. Improving business
relations was a topic of the discussions with the Bulgarian hosts.
b) Russia-Ukraine. (1) At the beginning of July, Russian
Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov visited Kiev and met with the new Ukrainian
Defense Minister Evhen Marchuk. The Ukrainian official confirmed his
country’s adherence to the bilateral treaty on stationing the Russian
Black Sea navy on Ukrainian territory. The Ukrainian minister also announced
that the Russian navy no longer owed any financial debts to the Ukrainian
state. (2) This summer Russia bought from Ukraine the last accelerators
for launching SS-19 (15A35, “Stiletto”) missiles for US$50 million.
In similar deals or barter trade agreements, Moscow has managed to buy
back its remaining strategic Cold War arsenal from Kiev this year.
c) Turkey-Azerbaijan. Turkish Prime Minister Recep
Erdogan on 8 August invited the newly-appointed prime minister of Azerbaijan,
Ilham Aliev, to make an official visit to Turkey. This would be Ilham
Aliev’s first visit to a foreign country. The date of the visit has
yet to be determined.
Trilateral Relations: Azerbaijan - Georgia - Turkey
In the beginning of July, representatives of the three countries’
defense ministries participated in a computer-aided staff simulation
attacks on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline. The exercise lasted
two weeks and reactions to terrorist attacks on the strategic pipeline
were worked out. The BTC pipeline project is worth almost US$3 billion.
The pipeline will be 1’743km long and have a capacity of 50 million
tons of oil per year.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov said on 12 August that Russia
intends to strengthen its positions in the CIS, following its withdrawal
from the military bases in Cuba and Vietnam. For example, Sevastopol
(in Ukraine) will remain the main base of the Russian Black Sea navy.
The Russian leadership has no intentions to leave Crimea. Russia has
similar plans in Tajikistan, where space-monitoring system remains vital
for Russian defense.
US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage met with the ambassadors
of Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova (the
GUUAM group) at the US State Department on 24 June. They discussed multilateral
projects on regional security and economic development. (2) A regular
meeting of the heads of states of the GUUAM group was convened on 3-4
July in Yalta, Ukraine. The summit approved various earlier cooperation
agreements. Only the Ukrainian and Georgian presidents were able to
attend the regular meeting. (3) At the end of July, the foreign minister
of Moldova, Nikolai Duden, said that his country was weighing the necessity
of remaining in the GUUAM group. His argument was that Moldova aims
to eventually join the EU and not to be attached permanently to the
GUUAM regional group. The authorities in Chisinau want to request association
negotiations with EU officials and become an associate country to the
EU by 2007.
STATE OF THE BLACK SEA REGIONAL COOPERATION AND THE ROLE OF EU AND NATO
Economic Aspects of Regional Cooperation in the Black Sea: National
and Regional Perspectives
a) IMF-Armenia. An IMF delegation visited Yerevan
from 16 July-1 August. After this visit the Executive Council of the
IMF started considering giving Armenia the fifth installment of the
‘Program for the Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction’ credit of US$13
b) US-Georgia. On 20 August it was announced that the
US Department of Agriculture would provide 50’000 metric tons of hard
red winter wheat to augment supplies of that commodity in Georgia. The
shipments are expected to arrive in Georgia in October.
c) USTDA-Russia. The US Trade and Development Agency
(USTDA) on September 10 signed a $325,000 grant agreement with ZAO MS-Spetstelecom,
a Russian company, to study the feasibility of building a specialized
mobile radio telecommunications system that will serve as the backbone
of a secure voice and data transmission service for government and municipal
public safety workers.
Political and Security Aspects of the Black Sea Regional Cooperation
and EU and NATO/PfP Activities
The Ukrainian Navy on 6 August transferred command of the operational
navy unit for cooperation of the Black Sea coastal states (BLACKSEAFOR)
to Bulgarian Rear Admiral Plamen Palushev in Bourgas, Bulgaria.
1) EU-Southern Caucasus. The EU appointed Finnish diplomat
Heikki Talvite as its special representative to the South Caucasus republics
on 7 July. His mission entails the tasks: 1- Helping the three republics
to carry out political and economic reforms; 2- Aiding conflict prevention
and resolution; 3- Encouraging the return of refugees and internally
displaced persons; 4- Assisting constructive engagement with neighboring
states; 5- Supporting intra-regional cooperation; 6- Ensuring the coordination
and effectiveness of EU’s activities. EU has a special representative
also in Macedonia, Afghanistan, and the African Great Lakes. They are
approved by all member states and report to the EU High Representative
for foreign and security policy. On 16 July EC Commissioner for External
Relations, Christopher Patten told the Armenian press that it is important
the countries of the region refrain from the urge towards setting external
powers on to fight, but confirm their adherence to the idea of regional
2) EU-Russia. Russian President Putin visited Sardinia
from 29-31 August at the invitation of the Italian EU Presidency. Italian
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi hosted the event.
1) NATO-Georgia. (1) On 8-9 July a NATO delegation
visited Tbilisi. It presented part of the activities of the NATO Airborne
Early Warning and Control Program Management Organization to the Georgian
Ministry of Defense. (2) A PfP/NATO exercise was carried out from 8-21
September at the Georgian Vazian military base. It was an exercise for
humanitarian and rescue missions with participation from Albania, Bulgaria,
Georgia, Germany, Moldova, Turkey, Ukraine, and the US.
2) NATO-Turkmenistan. On 14-16 August NATO observers
took part in Turkmen military exercises. They were invited by Turkmen
President Saparmurat Niazov. NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson
approved the participation, taking into account the positive experience
of cooperation with Turkmenistan within the PfP program.
OTHER EXTERNAL FACTORS - STATES AND INSTITUTIONS INFLUENCING THE BLACK
SEA REGION: US
1. US-Georgia. (1) US Assistant Secretary of State
for European and Eurasian Affairs Elizabeth Jones visited Tbilisi on
7 July together with former US secretary of state James Baker. The purpose
of the visit was to monitor the implementation of the US-suggested election
guidelines. (2) The Georgian border guard on 29 July received US$800’000
worth of equipment purchased with a US grant to help patrol the mountainous
Chechen, Ingush, and Dagestani segments of the Georgian-Russian border.
The supplies include four-wheel drive vehicles, medical evacuation stretchers,
military boots, cooking stoves, torches, binoculars, and first-aid kits.
2. US-Ukraine. (1) In the beginning of August, the
US and Ukraine signed an agreement to set up a ‘confidential information’
exchange mechanism. The accord aims at mutual protection of secret information
in the defense sphere. The agreement needs to be ratified by the legislative
bodies of the two states. (2) US Senator James Inhofe (R) of Oklahoma
visited Ukraine in the middle of August. He was shown Ukrainian military
training facilities, including a military range in the northern Chernihiv
region. (3) US Secretary of State Colin Powell met with new Ukrainian
Foreign Minister Konstantin Hrischenko on 4 September in Washington.
The Ukrainian official discussed bilateral ties with the Secretary of
State, President George Bush, and with the president’s National Security
Advisor Condoleezza Rice.
In July-September, the issues of fighting terrorism, nuclear proliferation,
and improving regional stability continued to be central for the Black
Sea-Caspian Sea area. The energy resources potential of Russia became
more attractive for cooperative undertakings with the West, while other
energy projects linked to the Caspian Sea reservoir are still in a process
of implementation. US-Russian relations became more instrumental for
both states’ national interests, and the EU and NATO persisted with
their involvement in regional developments.