President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in a joint
statement on 20 November in London, urged all nations to join together
in a common purpose, put aside temporary disagreements, and recognize
the responsibility to work for the common good in the world. They underlined
that ‘our tasks are great, but so are our capabilities, when we work
together’. They added that ‘effective multilateralism, and neither
unilateralism nor international paralysis, will guide our approach.’
There are great challenges, but also great opportunities to apply the
‘effective multilateral’ approach to the multitude of issues in the
Black Sea – Caspian Sea region, where two geoeconomic, geostrategic,
and geopolitical transport corridors intersect, namely the East –West
(the Transport Corridor Europe Caucasus Asia, TRACECA) and the North-South
corridors. A more practical formula for an effective multilateral approach
could involve balancing the economic interests of all actors in the
region as well as achieving a cooperative security partnership of states
with different levels of democratic maturity, but interested in providing
stability and security in the area.
The last quarter of 2003 showed examples of this formula being realized,
as well as tendencies in the opposite direction that cannot change
the general trend of agreed efforts of preserving stability and utilizing
various opportunities of region-building performance.
Some examples include the continuing “fight against terrorism”, support
of the post-conflict rehabilitation efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq,
and successes in countering the nuclear proliferation dangers. Though
differences persist in the fundamental approaches to the occupation
of Iraq, and although the Iraqi resistance is carrying out attacks
on occupation forces as well as innocent passers-by on a daily basis,
the minor and major successes such as the arrest of Saddam Hussein
have added to the gradual progress of the country.
Secondly, the oil and gas energy issues and the Caspian Sea delimitation
activities proceeded with a mixture of conflicting and cooperative
interests of the participating parties, but without producing threats
Thirdly, the conflicts in the Caucasus continued to produce broader
negative side-effects on the general development of the societies and
economies of the region. There is also a rising international awareness
that the conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Transdniester, and Chechnya
require more and more local engagement to stop blocking the progress
of the region.
Fourth, the election results in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Russia in
the last months displayed both signs of democratic improvement and
of democratic deficit. In the case of Georgia, the latter provoked
a revolution that ended the rule of Edward Shevardnadze in a peaceful,
Fifth, the involvement of international financial institutions in practical
projects of improving the economic situation keep the reform spirit
alive and show new aims for local political energy and initiative.
Sixth, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC),
the EU, and NATO have induced positive integration initiatives in the
last months, showing that cooperation can triumph over diverging interests.
Thus, for example, the developing NATO-Russia relations should facilitate
the achievement of practical interoperability of forces in 2004. The
US continued to be especially active in developing relations with countries
from the Black Sea-Caspian Sea region.
II. Profile Background of the Black Sea-Caspian Sea Area
1. Geopolitical, Geoeconomic,
and Geostrategic Tendencies
1) USA-China. (1) On 15 October China sent its first astronaut (or
‘taikonaut’), Yang Liwei, into space. He returned on 16 October after
orbiting the Earth 14 times in 21 hours. On that same day, Lieutenant-General
Edward Anderson, deputy commander of US Northern Command and formerly
at Space Command, said at a geo-spatial intelligence conference in
New Orleans that space may become a war zone in the near future. Another
top-level US defense intelligence expert and former special assistant
for intelligence to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Haver,
mentioned earlier that day that the ability to launch devices into
space is rapidly becoming a multinational activity. (2) On 9 December
Chinese Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao visited the US and met with US President
George Bush. Bush criticised in public Taiwan’s plans to hold a referendum
on the threat posed by Chinese missiles. Obviously this new US position
vis-à-vis the PRC and ROC controversy has been induced by the
strategic advantage of having continental China as a strong ally in
the fight against terrorism and WMD proliferation. The US expects Beijing
to be helpful and effective in the diplomatic efforts to dismantle
North Korea’s nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, Washington left China
off the list of 63 nations allowed to bid for US-funded contracts in
2) US-Russia. On 2 December the Bush administration made a significant
step toward adjusting its policy to fit the reality of Russia’s recent
behavior in Moldova and Georgia. US Secretary of State Colin Powell
addressed an OSCE meeting in Maastricht and criticised President Putin’s
government for failing to meet its commitment to withdraw troops by
the end of this year from Moldova and Georgia. Colin Powell opposed
Russian efforts to influence the internal affairs of these two former
Soviet republics. Russia blocked the adoption of an OSCE resolution
that backed Powell’s comments, but the Russian delegation was isolated
in the multilateral forum. Russia is obviously trying to win back its
dominant position over the territory of the former Soviet Union. However,
its efforts meet opposition from neighboring states and the expanding
NATO and EU.
2. Terrorism/Post-Conflict Rehabilitation
in Afghanistan and Iraq
a. Canada-Russia-ISAF. On 6 October Russian Defense Minister Sergei
Ivanov told Canadian Defense Minister John McCallum that Moscow was
ready to provide intelligence to Canada to help avert attacks such
as the land mine blast that killed two Canadian peacekeepers in Kabul
the week before. Canada has 2’000 soldiers as part of the NATO-led
peacekeeping force in Afghanistan (ISAF).
b. UN-NATO. The UN Security Council voted unanimously on 13 October
to adopt Resolution 1510 to expand the size and mandate of ISAF in
Afghanistan beyond Kabul. NATO had informed the Security Council earlier
in October that planning to extend the force beyond the capital was
completed, and that many countries were ready to contribute additional
troops to the mission.
c. NATO-ISAF. On 1 December, NATO finally agreed to send more helicopters
and military personnel to Afghanistan. “If we do not stay the course”,
NATO Secretary-General George Robertson said, “Afghanistan and its
problems will appear on all our doorsteps.” The warning and the decision
came after a meeting between Robertson and US Secretary of Defense
a. Japan. (1) On 17 November, US President George Bush and Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi of Japan held talks on joint reconstruction efforts
in Iraq. Japan has pledged US$1.5 billion in financial assistance during
2004 for this reconstruction. (2) On 9 December the Japanese cabinet
decided to send a military contingent of 500-700 troops for a humanitarian
and rescue mission in southern Iraq in 2004. In early November, an
announcement declared in an Arabian newspaper to have been released
by the al-Qaida group named Japan as a target for attacks. At the end
of November, two Japanese diplomats were killed in in Iraq.
b. Ukraine. (1) Three land mines wounded seven Ukrainian soldiers from
the Polish-led multinational division operating south of the capital
Baghdad on 28 October. Their two armored vehicles were destroyed by
the mines during a night patrol. (2) On 11 November, the top Ukrainian
officer in Iraq, Major-General Anatoliy Sobora, said that Ukrainian
troops in charge of policing a stretch of Iraq’s frontier with Iran
were planning to boost their patrols early next year to crack down
on illegal border crossings. Ukraine has 1’700 troops that are part
of the Polish-led multinational force responsible for security in south
central Iraq. Ukraine will add 10 more helicopters to the 10 now in
operation in Iraq.
3) Chechen Terrorism in Russia.
(1) On 1 December Russia slammed Britain
for granting asylum to leading Chechen rebel Akhmed Zakaev, saying
the move raised doubt about the British government’s commitment to
the fight against terrorism. Moscow has accused Zakaev of murder and
kidnapping incidents in 1994-96. (2) On 5 December, terrorists linked
by the Russian authorities to Chechen extremists caused the death of
more than 40 and wounded some 200 Russian citizens, mostly students
and children, traveling with a train from Kislovodsk to Mineralniye
vody in southern Russia. Three women and one man were suspected of
having carried out the suicide bombing. The tragedy happened early
morning near the town of Essentuki. Two of the female suicide bombers
reportedly jumped from the train before the blast. The homemade bomb
aimed to cause as much loss of human life as possible – it has been
filled with nails, bolts, and screw-nuts. The second car of the train
was totally destroyed. This was the second blast on the Kislovodsk-Mineralniye
vody railway after 3 September, when two bombs were detonated under
the train, killing six and injuring 92 passengers. According to Russian
President Putin, it was an attempt to destabilize the country on the
eve of the 7 December parliamentary elections. World leaders and the
UN authorities condemned the attack. (3) On 9 December, two female
suicide bombers with alleged Chechen connections killed themselves
and six other people in downtown Moscow near the Kremlin. Another 13
were wounded by the blast. A second, more powerful bomb did not detonate,
and thus the effect was limited. Putin claimed that terrorizing Moscow
was aimed against the market economy, democracy, and the integrity
of the country. (4) On 15 December, alleged Chechen terrorists entered
into Dagestan, a republic bordering on Chechnya, and killed 9 Russian
border guards. Then they took four hostages from a local hospital.
Special Russian Ministry of Interior forces counter-attacked, but with
no success in catching the intruders.
3. The Threat of Nuclear Proliferation
1) Iran-IAEA. On 29 September, the EU warned Iran that lucrative trade
ties could be in jeopardy if the Islamic Republic failed to restore
international oversight of its nuclear program. The EU foreign ministers
insisted that Iran must accept tough inspections of its facilities
and refrain from fuel enrichment, which could be used to produce fissile
material for nuclear weapons. On 17 November, EU Foreign Policy Chief
Javier Solana said that Iran had been honest about its nuclear program,
and should not be reported to the UN Security Council for potential
sanctions. On 24 November, the US struck a deal with France, Germany,
and Britain on a UN resolution that condemns Iran for hiding its nuclear
program in the past, but encourages its new policy of honesty. The
35-member board of the IAEA agreed on 26 November on a resolution that
condemned Iranian clandestine nuclear program, but refrained from reporting
it to the UN Security Council where it could face sanctions. The head
of the IAEA, Dr Mohamed ElBaradei, said any future failure to comply
on the part of Iran would not be tolerated. On 10 December, the Iranian
government agreed to sign an international protocol binding it to tough
snap inspections of its nuclear facilities. The Foreign Ministry of
Iran was given permission by the cabinet to let the Iranian representative
to the IAEA in Vienna sign the Additional Protocol to the NPT. In the
next step, the Iranian parliament will ratify the bill, although the
implementation will start before the ratification.
2) US-Russia. US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham and Russian Atomic
Energy Minister Aleksandr Rumyantsev on 7 November signed a joint statement
in Washington that reaffirmed the two countries’ commitment to the
common objective of reducing and ultimately eliminating, to the extent
possible, the use of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) in civil nuclear
activity by returning to Russia all HEU of Russian origin scattered
throughout the former Soviet Union. This would reduce the global stockpile
of easily available weapons-grade material. The statement will serve
as the basis for a future treaty between the two countries. One immediate
goal of the agreement is to collect and return Russian-supplied fuel
from more than 20 research reactors in 17 countries. There are plans
to convert the reactors from using HEU into using low-enriched uranium.
4. Other Sources of Conflict in the Black Sea-Caspian Sea Region
1) The Delimitation of the Caspian Sea.
In early October, the lower
chamber of the Kazakh parliament ratified the trilateral agreement
on delimitating the Caspian Sea bottom negotiated with Russia and Azerbaijan
in May 2003. The agreement links the three bilateral agreements on
the issue. The three riparian states argue that the sea bottom should
be divided proportionally to the length of the coastlines of each country.
Iran disagrees and insists on an equal share for all coastal states.
2) Oil and Gas Issues.
a. Kazakhstan-China. The Kazakhstan state oil company said on 9 October
that its Chinese counterpart had agreed to finance a US$800 million
oil pipeline from western Kazakhstan to northwestern China. Construction
will begin in mid-2004. A similar deal between Russia’s Yukos corporation
and China on supplying Siberian oil has not yet been approved.
b. Gazprom. In the last days of November, Russian President Vladimir
Putin announced that the complex two-tiered share structure of Gazprom,
the world’s greatest supplier of natural gas, could be revamped within
a matter of months rather than years to allow foreigners more access.
Mikhail Khodorkovski, a symbolic figure of Russian capitalism, was
arrested in October on charges of tax evasion. Gazprom could easily
become the largest company in the emerging markets, according to financial
experts. Gazprom provides 25 per cent of western Europe’s natural gas
and is planning to become the major gas supplier to China and Japan,
as the world looks for alternative fossil fuel sources and tries to
avoid the unstable Middle East. The Russian government owns 38 per
cent of Gazprom.
c. Yukos-Sibneft. In early December, the two giant Russian oil producers
Yukos and Sibneft confirmed their ‘divorce’ after an initial merger
attempt in April 2003. Whether or not the merger was actually completed
is still unclear – a factor that has special legal consequences for
the separation. The Russian anti-monopoly institutions had already
approved the deal in August, but a few weeks later, the merger was
halted after the arrest of two leading Yukos shareholders and managers,
Platon Lebedev and Mikhail Khodorkovski.
CONFLICT AND POST-CONFLICT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE BLACK SEA AREA
Chechnya. On 5 October the Russian-backed candidate for president
of Chechnya and only contender in the elections, Akhmad Kadyrov, won
the presidential vote with more than 80 per cent. The intention of
the government in Moscow was to portray the elections as a sign of
normalization in the separatist republic. Chechen rebels dismissed
the elections as pointless and vowed to press on with their fight to
turn Chechnya into an independent state.
Transdniester. The opposition in Moldova held
street demonstrations to derail a peace deal over breakaway Transdniester
and to protest against a visit by President Putin to Chisinau on 25
November, saying that the plan for federalization would turn Moldova
into a Russian protectorate. Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin dropped
the plan at the last minute, citing lack of support from the OSCE.
The failure of the plan was attributed to the pro-Romanian and anti-Russian
Christian-Democratic People’s Party and its charismatic leader, Iure
Rosca. On 1 December at the OSCE Maastricht meeting, the Moldovan president
accepted US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s idea of stationing international
peacekeeping forces in Transdniester. Moldovan Foreign Minister Nikolae
Dudeu called on Russia to withdraw its military troops from his country.
The Russian foreign minister replied that Moscow was only maintaining
a contingent of 200 soldiers for warehouse protection purposes. In
fact, Russia still maintains 1’600 troops and 20’000 tons of weaponry
in Dniester, the remnants of the Soviet 14th Army.
3. Conflicts in the Caucasus. The Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Alexei II, met with the
Patriarch Catholicus of Georgia, Ilya II; the head of the Spiritual
Board of Muslims of the Caucasus, Allahshukur Pashazade; and with the
Supreme Patriarch and Catholicus of the Armenians, Garegin II, in Moscow
on 26 November. They discussed ways to resolve the many conflicts in
the Caucasus. The religious leaders of Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan,
and Armenia have discussed these problems four times– the last time
4. Nagorno Karabakh. In the beginning of December, the co-chairs of
the OSCE Minsk Group from Russia, France, and the US met with the ‘president’
of the un-recognized republic of Nagorno-Karabakh in Stepanakert, Arkadyi
Gukasian. He insisted on joining the negotiations with the representatives
of Armenia and Azerbaijan and on participating in the shaping of a
lasting solution to the conflict. He said the propaganda war between
the two countries was particularly counterproductive. At the same time,
Armenian President Robert Kocharian discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh
issue and Armenia’s Euro-Atlantic integration with EC President Romano
Prodi in Brussels.
THE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES: SPECIFIC DEVELOPMENTS
Russia. (1) On 2 October, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov unveiled the
draft, or rather ‘discussion paper’, for a new Russian military doctrine.
At the unveiling, President Vladimir Putin said that the period of
radical reform was over, and that by 2007 Russia would have a rapid-reaction
force and would completely have moved from a conscript to a contract-based
army. He reaffirmed that Russia reserves the right to resort to pre-emptive
military strikes, because the US also practices this policy. The redeployment
of SS-19 heavy nuclear missiles would help to reduce the numbers in
service, while maintaining an effective nuclear deterrent. Much confusion
arose from the doctrine’s warning that if NATO remained a military
entity with an offensive military doctrine, Russia would radically
revise its own military planning and organization. At the NATO Defense
Ministers’ meeting in Colorado Springs, Ivanov said there was no thought
or even talk of using nuclear weapons first. He added that Russia views
the US as a partner in fighting new security threats such as terrorism
and the spread of WMD, and also in possible missile defense projects.
Russia will not change its military posture in response to what is
regarded as ‘an offensive NATO military doctrine’. In a parallel development
that was probably not completely coincidental, the president of the
council on Foreign and Defense Policy (a non-governmental expert group),
Sergey Karaganov, called the new doctrine ‘not a doctrine, but a collection
of ideas from the Defense Ministry on this and that – a mix of rhetoric,
of new ideas and old ones’. (2) On 23 October Russia established its
first military base in another country since the demise of the Soviet
Union in 1991. Presidents Putin and Askar Akaev of Russia and Kyrgyzstan
inaugurated the airbase in Kant, 20km east of Bishkek, the capital
of Kyrgyzstan. (3) At the parliamentary elections in Russia on 7 December,
the pro-presidential party United Russia won 36.84 per cent of the
votes, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation rated second with
12.74 per cent, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia of Vladimir
Zhirinovsky ended with 11.8 per cent, and the new left and patriotic
party Rodina with 9.02 per cent. The Yabloko party of Grigoriy Yavlinsky
with 4.3 per cent and the Union of the Right Forces (URF) of Boris
Nemtsov with 3.9 per cent did not pass the 5 per cent hurdle. The current
trend in the Russian political system indicates a return to a one-party
system, with relations between the president and the parliament that
are similar to the Brezhnev era. The media and the judicial system
have also displayed a pro-presidential shift, diminishing the balance
of powers in Russian society. The leaders of the URF warned on 20 December
that they might boycott the upcoming presidential elections in March
2004 due to undemocratic pressure on the media by the government.
2. Azerbaijan. The presidential election in Azerbaijan on 15 October
was generally well administered in most polling stations, but the overall
election process still fell short of international standards in several
respects, a joint statement by the International Election Observation
Mission in Baku of 16 October said. The shortcomings included irregularities
in the counting and tabulation, intimidation, unequal conditions for
candidates during the campaign, and serious restrictions on political
rallies. The positive aspects of the campaign included the plurality
of candidates, public participation in the campaign, rights of opposition
candidates, the election code safeguards, and the quick publication
of results. The observer mission was deployed by the OSCE and the Council
of Europe. The bitter taste of dynastic succession in Azerbaijan (the
winner was, of course, Ilham Aliev, the son of the late Heidar Aliev)
is partly offset by the willingness of Azerbaijan to participate in
security arrangements in the region of the Caspian Sea and beyond.
3. Georgia. (1) Parliamentary elections were held in Georgia on 2 November.
On 3 November, the Georgian authorities declared that the counting
of votes would continue at least for the next 20 days. International
observers reported shortcomings in the elections. On 4 November, the
US ambassador to Georgia also reported irregularities in the elections.
On 14 November, 20’000 demonstrators called on President Eduard Shevardnadze
to resign. On 20 November, the political party of Shevardnadze was
named winner in the elections, while the US declared that the election
results had been falsified. On 21 November, 50’000 demonstrators called
for Shevardnadze’s resignation. On 22 November. the demonstrators stormed
the parliament building, and President Shevardnadze declared ‘a state
of emergency’ in the country. Shevardnadze resigned on 23 November
at 6:30pm. The military stood aside when protesters seized the parliament
and the opposition protest leader Mikhail Saakashvili called the ousting
of the president a “rose revolution”. Many world leaders, including
those in Washington, D.C., voiced support for Nino Burdzhanadze, speaker
of the outgoing parliament and acting head of state until new elections.
Saakashvili is the leading candidate for Georgia’s presidency. The
Georgian High Court on 25 November decided to annul the results of
the parliamentary elections of 2 November. The Georgian Parliament
decided on that day to set a new presidential election for 4 January.
On 28 November, Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagarishvili resigned
and was replaced in the interim by his first deputy, Merab Antadze.
Tedo Japaridze, the former head of Georgia’s national security council,
was confirmed by the parliament to the top foreign relations post.
The new Georgian foreign minister pledged to work closely with both
the US and Russia. On 5 December, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
arrived in Georgia. He appealed on Russia to close its two military
bases with 3’000 soldiers in Georgia. Russia plans to leave the base
in ten years, while Tbilisi insists it must be evacuated within three
years. The new leaders of Georgia thanked Rumsfeld for supporting their
country. (2) Former Georgian President Edward Shevardnadze and Russian
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov declared, independently of one another,
that the overthrow of Shevardnadze had been planned and implemented
by US Ambassador to Georgia Richard Miles and the Soros foundation
in Tbilisi. Foreign Minister Ivanov admitted that the destabilization
of Georgia was in nobody’s interest. This has also been the US position.
Georgia is a neighbor of Russia in the troubled Caucasus and the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan
(BTC) oil pipeline that passes through the country was sponsored and
supported by Washington. It was noticeable that influential powers
in the region, such as the EU and Turkey, did not intervene in any
meaningful way in the Georgian developments. Armenia displayed a similar
attitude. Probably, fear of escalating US-Russian competition in the
country and the region deterred them from taking sides in the evolving
events in Georgia.
No matter what the new government in Georgia wants to accomplish, it
will face the grave issues of corruption, clan warfare, secession,
and a ruined economy. Georgia has many features of a fractured state
and a huge potential for turning into a failed one. The non-violent
power handover may provide the opportunity of de-accelerating the negative
processes and turning the tide in the years to come.
AND MULTILATERAL RELATIONS IN THE BLACK SEA REGION, STATE OF CIS AND
a. Armenia-Bulgaria. Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Svinarov
visited Armenia on 22-23 October and met in Yerevan with his Armenian
counterpart, Serzh Sarkisian. The two-day visit of the Bulgarian Defense
Ministry delegation was aimed at improving joint training and cooperation
between the armies of the two countries. Bulgaria wil assume the presidency
of the OSCE in 2004, and will try to push the process of settling the
Nagorno Karabakh conflict. On 23 October, Svinarov met Armenian President
Robert Kocharian and Prime Minister Andranik Markarian.
b. Azerbaijan- Turkey. At the end of October, Azeri President Ilham
Aliev met in Baku with the commander of the Turkish land forces, General
Aytaç Yalman. Aliev said a new peaceful approach to the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict was needed to reach a lasting solution. However, he did not
specify what the new approach should be.
c. Russia-Armenia. In the beginning of December, Russian President
Putin met with Armenian President Robert Kocharian in St Petersburg.
The two leaders exchanged views on the situation in Georgia and the
Caucasus region and confirmed their countries’ strategic partnership.
A new round of talks between the ambassadors of the GUUAM countries
and US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Euroasian Affairs
Elizabeth Jones was held on 26 September in New York. The participants
“agreed to the next steps for implementing joint projects designed
to improve regional security and encourage economic development.” The
projects are “aimed at increasing security in trade and transport and
combating trans-border crime”. The GUUAM states decided to seek observer
status in the UN General Assembly.
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. WTO – Ukraine. On 28 October, WTO officials said that talks
on Ukraine’s accession to the WTO were going well and that the country
was on track to join in 2004 or early 2005. Ukraine has signed bilateral
accords with 16 of the 146 WTO members. Bilateral deals with those
states that seek them – and many of the WTO member-states do not –
are a key part of the organization’s entry process. The US has imposed
sanctions worth US$75 million a year on Ukraine, which it accuses of
being the world’s worst abuser of intellectual property rights, notably
in the CD and video industries.
b. IMF – Armenia. On 7 November, Armenia became the 54th state to subscribe
to the IMF’s Special Data Dissemination Standard, which was established
in 1996 as a guide to provide more timely and comprehensive economic
and financial data to the public. The standard covers the breadth,
timeliness, quality, and integrity of data, as well as ease of access.
Countries that subscribe pledge to observe the standard and to provide
information to the IMF about their data dissemination practices.
c. World Bank – Caspian Sea Protection. The Council of the Global Environment
Facility (GEF). an international financial organization with 176 members,
linked to the World Bank (WB), approved a US$6.5 million grant on 24
November for a project that will support implementation of a new treaty
designed to protect the Caspian Sea, the world’s largest inland body
of water. The treaty, the ‘Tehran Convention’, was signed in early
November by Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan.
The five countries agreed to take all necessary measures, individually
and collectively, to reduce and control pollution and to protect the
environment of the Caspian Sea. The UNDP in cooperation with UNEP will
manage the project, and the US$6.5 million grant will be supplemented
with US$25.8 million in co-financing from governments and other sources.
Four regional environmental concerns will be addressed: unsustainable
use of biological resources; other threats to biodiversity, including
invasive species; pollution; and unsustainable coastal area development.
d. WB – Georgia. On 24 November, the WB commended the peaceful and
responsible manner in which political transition took place in Georgia.
The WB also said it was looking forward to working with the new leadership
to assist the people of Georgia in raising their living standards,
creating economic and social opportunities, and developing a public
sector that is responsive to the needs of all citizens.
e. WB – Moldova. On 25 November, the WB approved a US$35 million credit
to help continue reforms in Moldova’s energy sector. The main objectives
of the project include improving the security and reliability of electrical
power transmission, and improving the availability, quality, and efficiency
of heating in priority public buildings such as schools and hospitals.
The project is expected to help strengthen the investment environment
of Moldova’s energy sector and reduce technical and commercial losses,
Political and Security Aspects of the Black Sea Regional Cooperation
and EU and NATO/PfP Activities
a. Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (OBSEC). In the beginning of October, a meeting of the OBSEC Transport Ministers
was convened in Baku. The meeting adopted a declaration for the development
of transport cooperation in the region of the Black Sea and the Caspian
Sea. The aim of the transport cooperation is to strengthen the integrated
networks of the individual countries and to improve the transport corridors
between them. The declaration calls for the simplification of trans-border
bureaucratic procedures and the harmonization of national transport
legislation under the EU ‘acquis communautaire’. The countries in the
region agreed to conclude agreements for a stable and compatible transport.
This would also strengthen security in the region. Eight OBSEC members
signed the declaration: Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Romania,
Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. Representatives from Israel, Italy, and
France as well as from OBSEC institutions attended the meeting as observers.
b. EU-Russia. (1) On 6 November, the EU-Russia summit with the participation
of President Vladimir Putin was convened in Rome. He reminded the other
participants of his country’s demand for compensation after the EU
enlargement to include Russia’s neighbors. Visa arrangements for Russian
citizens were also discussed. The EU intends to do its best to maintain
good relations with a neighbor that is a great regional power with
nuclear weapons. While in Rome, President Putin met also with Pope
John Paul II. (2) The European military aviation and space company
EADS announced in the beginning of December that it was establishing
a subsidiary company in Russia. The company will start functioning
in January 2004. EADS already has several cooperative projects with
Russian air and space companies.
c. EU – Ukraine. In the second week of October, a summit meeting of
European Council President Romano Prodi with Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma in Yalta tried to generate a positive impetus for cooperation,
but circumstances made it clear that there was no chance as yet of
being offered a date for membership. Ukraine is worried at the prospect
of being left out as its neighbors Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary join
the EU next year. Western officials have often criticised Ukraine for
its repressive media laws and human rights violations, as well as lagging
political and economic reforms.
d. NATO – Russia. (1) On 30 October, outgoing NATO Secretary-General
George Robertson visited Moscow. He said that the terrorist attacks
of 11 September 2001 had shown that the former adversaries NATO and
Russia must now work together “if we are to meet the threats and challenges
of the 21 century effectively”. There is currently some cooperation
between NATO and Russia on issues like joint intelligence assessments
of terrorist threats and arrangements for joint peacekeeping operations.
Robertson noted that the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), established in
May 2002, is close to agreement on a common assessment of proliferation
dangers. (2) On 12 November, the NRC at the level of chiefs of General
Staffs agreed to continue the cooperation in 2004. They agreed to carry
out joint exercises in the next two years. (3) On 1 December, the NRC
at the level of defense ministers discussed the joint fight on terrorism
and the armed forces interoperability. According to Russian sources,
this will be achieved in 2004. A direct secure telephone communication
link has been established between the NATO secretary-general in Brussels
and the Russian minister of defense of Russia in Moscow. (4) On 4 December,
the NRC meeting, in a session of foreign ministers, reiterated the
two sides’ common approach to shared threats. The NRC agreed that it
should continue to contribute to the security of all peoples in the
Euro-Atlantic area. Russia offered to provide practical support for
the NATO-led ISAF in Afghanistan and stated the support for Afghan
reconstruction, security sector reform, the fight against drug trafficking,
and effective border controls. NRC welcomed evolving reconciliation
and regional cooperation in South East Europe. The NRC endorsed a statement
of the Council’s defense ministers on practical cooperation initiatives.
e. NATO-Ukraine. On 26 November, the NATO-Ukraine Commission met in
Brussels at ambassadorial session to discuss the role of the NATO-Ukraine
Distinctive Partnership in enhancing peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic
area as well as progress in implementing the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan
and 2003 Annual Target Plan.
f. NATO-Georgia. On 27 November, the new state minister of Georgia’s
interim government (the second highest-ranking official in the country),
Zurab Zhvania, said that Tbilisi would draw up a detailed plan for
joining NATO. The new interim government will invite US experts to
help work out the plan.
OTHER EXTERNAL FACTORS - STATES AND INSTITUTIONS INFLUENCING THE BLACK
SEA REGION: US
1. US-Armenia. On 7 October, the US Department of State announced it
had provided a US$170’000 grant to the Yerevan office of the International
Organization for Migration (IOM) to fund two projects to stop human
trafficking in Armenia. The two projects are aimed at raising awareness
among potential victims of human trafficking, strengthening the personnel
capacity at Armenian diplomatic missions to assist victims of human
trafficking, and increasing the capacity of a national NGO that provides
shelter, support, and counseling to victims.
2. USA-Georgia. On 3 December, a high-level US delegation, led by US
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Lynn Pascoe, arrived in Tbilisi
for talks with the Georgian interim government about its needs in the
run-up to presidential elections. US government officials from the
Department of Defense, the Treasury, and the Department of Agriculture
as well as the USTDA also arrived in Georgia to help organize the 4
January elections and assist Georgian authorities in devising government
3. US – Azerbaijan. On 3 December, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
arrived in Baku and met with Azerbaijani Defense Minister Colonel General
Safar Abiev and with President Ilham Aliev. Rumsfeld said the US was
committed to a bigger role in helping Azerbaijan against terrorists
and illicit trafficking in weapons and drugs. Azerbaijan’s navy and
maritime forces would be a special target of US help, Rumsfeld said.
4. USA – Russia. (1) On 8 December, President Bush issued a waiver
that frees up funding for a chemical weapons destruction facility in
Russia. The funds of the US Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, aimed
at dismantling Russian WMD (the Nunn-Lugar program) cannot be disbursed
unless certain conditions are met. Congress gave the president authority
to waive the conditions, and Bush used the waiver authority. (2) On
19 December, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Marc
Grossman visited Moscow. He acquainted Russian counterparts with the
new global responsibilities of US forces. The US has not taken any
final decision and this is why it has such conversations. US officials
visited also Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey.
While democracy is evolving slowly in the Black Sea-Caspian
Sea region, multilateral diplomacy tries to bridge diverging interests
and stimulate stabilization of the area. Responsible behavior of the
regional powers and cooperation with NATO and EU are of key importance
to reaching mutual advantages and bypassing crises. Avoiding nuclear
threats and fighting terrorism remain priority security tasks in the