(A Background and April - June 1999 Issue in Brief)

© Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS), Sofia

Reserach Study 2

Hard Copy: ISSN 1311 – 3259




1. The establishment of a Military Base in Azerbaijan with a Limited Turkish (or American or NATO) Contingent
2. The Continuing Violations of the Montreux Convention (1936) by Turkey about the Passage Through the Straits
The Controversy Over the Oil and the Gas Pipelines from the Caspian Region


1. Cechnya
2. North Ossetia
3. Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict
4. The Kurdish Issue in Turkey


1. Azerbaijan
2. Bulgaria
3. Georgia
4. Moldova
5. Russia
6. Turkey
7. Ukraine


1. Bilateral Contacts
2. Multilateral Relations


1. Economic Aspects of the Black Sea Cooperation
2. Political and Security Aspects of the Black Sea Regional Cooperation


1. Council of Europe
3. USA


I Introduction

The dynamic developments in the countries of the Black Sea basin and among them was characteristic of the April-June 1999 period. The conflicting and post-conflict rehabilitation relations was another general feature of the regional social landscape alongside with conflict-prevention efforts and region-construction events. The existing tensions in the area were polarised by the Kosovo conflict and the contradicting interests of the major regional powers – Russia, Turkey and Iran – intensified. The involvement of external to the region states and international institutions continued to be the most disputed yet indispensable factor for the modernisation of the economy, infrastructure and for the social maturity of the area.


II Profile Background of the Black Sea Basin: Sources of Conflict

Three contentious issues may turn into real conflicts of a bigger scale:

1. The Establishment of a Military Base in Azerbaijan with a Limited Turkish (or American or NATO) Contingent

These recent media reports logically can be linked to Baku’s declared intentions to leave the Collective Security Treaty of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The military balance of power in the Transcaucasus will be changed in favour of Turkey and to Russia’s detriment. The eventual loss by Russia of the Gabalinskiy early warning radar station in North Azerbaijan will be a blow to the global strategic stance of Russia too. No doubt, Russia may be motivated to search closer ties with potential allies from the region like Iran, Iraq, India and China. Two informal alliances are taking shape in the region with two leaders: Russia, joined by Armenia and Iran, and the United States with Turkey and Azerbaijan alongside. One should not dismiss the hypothetical option of involving European members of the Alliance into region’s conflicts through Turkey’s individual engagements in a troubled area. From Azerbaijani point of view such a base is needed to counter and restore the balance of powers in the region that has changed after the signing of the Russian-Armenian Treaty for Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance on 29 August 1997, the delivery to Armenia recently of a squadron of MiG-29 fighters and the expected supply of a complex of S-300 surface-to-air missiles. The state of the 40,000 strong, well armed and mobile army of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorniy Karabakh is linked to the Russian support too.

2. The Continuing Violations of the Montreux Convention (1936) by Turkey about the Passage Through the Straits

The recent Turkish Parliament’s decision that obliges every ship passing through the Bosphorus to have on board at least 9 national maps of Turkey in Turkish language is in contradiction with the internationally established obligation about the English language maps. This automatically requires the ships’ captains to be proficient in Turkish too. Next, according to the Parliament’s decision, each ship must use the service of a Turkish pilot, including when casting anchor. The new rules of protection of Turkish fishing or tourist boats in their cross-shore floating practically block the passage of the big ships moving through the straits or put them at great risks. The closer involvement of the International Maritime Organisation is much needed both for fixing the rules of maritime behaviour and for preventing further economic losses for the coastal states and for the ships that visit Black Sea ports.

3. The Controversy Over the Oil and the Gas Pipelines from the Caspian Region

The Black Sea and its littoral states have acquired the feature of a potential battlefield for the oil and natural gas pipelines from Russia and the Caspian Sea basin but also of an area of opportunities for mutual benefits of the actors involved.

It was announced in the second week of May 1999 that the project of the Transnational gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Turkey to Bulgaria will be realised after 2005. The reason for this delay is that the European market of natural gas will be in stagnation. The consumption of gas in the last two years in the Balkans has decreased with 10%. The low international prices make the investors reluctant to start new construction. So in the next 5 years the Russian Gasprom will remain the only source of natural gas to Bulgaria.

More disputable is the issue of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline. The oil producers in the Caspian region are land-locked states far from the open seas and from the potential consumers. The United States would prefer to carry oil from the Caspian Sea through Georgia and Turkey than through Iran and Russia and thus end the Russian and the Iranian control over the energy routes from the Caspian and offer the West an alternative. The Russians perceive this situation as a blow on their influence as a regional power. Their arguments against the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline are that it is a politically, not economically motivated route. They are very sceptical about the amount of oil under the Caspian (according to British Petroleum figures it is 30 billion tons). The Russians think also there are grave risks to the security of the pipeline through Eastern Turkey and through the Caucasus. Russia firmly opposes the oil pipeline that will come from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan and will be laid on the Caspian seabed to Azerbaijan. The strong points in the Russian position about the energy supplies are in the control together with Iran of 50% of the world’s gas supplies (according to Russian sources) as well as in the good relations with Iran and with China – a prospective market of natural gas from the region.

The cooperative approach to the Baku-Ceyhan issue bears more conflict prevention potential. The balancing of the interests of the leading regional actors – Russia, Turkey and Iran is the key to formulating an answer to the problem. However, there should also be acceptance of the legitimate interest of many consumers to enlarge their options and stop their dependence on the monopoly of certain energy sources. At the same time there must be a sober realisation of the low speed of acceptance of the West by this part of the world, mainly Central Asia and parts of the Caucasus.


III Conflicts and Post-Conflict Developments in the Black Sea Area

The major conflict and the post-conflict issues in the April-June 1999 period were:

1. Chechnya

700 hostages have been taken in Chechnya from the beginning of 1999. 200 of them are local residents. High ransoms are claimed by the criminals for giving freedom to their victims. The other part of the hostages are taken from other North Caucasian areas. Daghestan territory and especially Russian officers and soldiers from the motor-rifle brigade and from the interior forces are the targets of the terrorist attacks. The Russian Prime-Minister Stepashin escaped a planned bomb attack on 25 June 1999 during his visit to the troubled republic. The Russian Stavropol region closed its borders with Chechnya to prevent terrorist acts by Chechen paramilitaries.

2. North Ossetia

5 were killed and 26 wounded on 16 May 1999 after a terrorist bombing in a military residential area in Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia. Three weeks earlier the former Russian Prime-Minister Primakov convened a meeting of the leaders of the North Caucasus entities in an effort to boost a political, cultural and economic dialogue in prevention of further terrorist activities. Primakov called Northern Caucasus ”the backbone of Russian statehoodÓ.

3. Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict

In the second week of June 1999 clashes were reported between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh thus breaking the cease-fire that is in effect since May 1994. The Nagorno-Karabakh problem has become a dominant issue in the domestic politics of Armenia and Azerbaijan. It has also turned into the priority foreign-political and security issue of the two neighbouring states. This conflict in the post-Soviet space belongs to the group of the worst, having a long record of antagonistic clashes of the two nations. It may be dated long back in history but its modern sources are from the period of the genocide against the Armenians. The latter consider the Azerbaijani as guilty as the Turks for the organisation of murders on a massive scale in 1915 in the Transcaucasus. The mutual fierceness of this inter-state conflict has the potential of escalating to global proportions. It can be easily ignited if the diverging interests for the transportation of oil and gas are further polarised and linked to the purposeful mounting with arms of the military balance in the area. This conflict may drag Russia and the USA to more acute and militarised relations. This conflict also pushes Russia to stronger relationship with China and India in the strategic field. Since 1994 the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is tempered mainly through the Minsk Group of the OSCE. A comprehensive and durable solution, however, would require broader and higher international authority and facing those conflict-prevention tools that may efficiently break the devil’s circle of mutual hatreds and hostilities. One venue of involving the two countries in cooperative efforts is the non-exclusion of Armenia from the regional energy developments. The transit of gas can induce cooperative perspectives on both sides and especially bring in the regional integration initiatives Armenia too. There are material prerequisites for that – a well structured and preserved but not effectively used network of gas pipelines in the Caucasus inherited from the Soviet period. A significant part of this network is based in Armenia and natural gas coming from Russia and Turkmenistan can be transported to Turkey through Armenia.

4. The Kurdish Issue in Turkey

The trial against the PKK Kurdish leader A. Ocalan and his death sentence of 29 June 1999 escalated the Kurdish conflict on Turkish territory. The genesis of this conflict displays many missed opportunities to de-escalate and regulate it by internal political means. Whatever the history of the lost chances a new window of opportunity is opened to approach politically and wisely the Kurdish question. The various procedures before implementing the death penalty of Ocalan provide opportunities to make this legal case a turning point in the treatment of the Kurdish issue in general. First of all, it is recommendable that the only highly respected by the Kurds leader – despite his record of a terrorist, is not ridiculed and humiliated. Next, the eyes and minds of the Turkish leaders should remain open to the facts connected with the huge Kurdish population: a) the poverty of the Kurds that made it less probable to integrate them in the Turkish society is not to be blamed on the Kurds themselves but on the many Turkish governments in the last 6-7 decades. This has had repercussions on the Turkey’s lower level of integration in the world despite the unique geostrategic role of this regional power; b) the Kurds have been rejected education, broadcasting in their own language (it has been even banned by the Turkish military after their coup in 1980). This purposeful humiliation has left a scar on the Kurdish spirit; c) the closure of all competing democratic Kurdish parties and organisations, the repression of any form of expressing ‘Kurdishness’ have also facilitated the birth of the PKK.

The time is ripe to stop with the economic deprivation, socio-political and cultural exclusion of the Kurds and stop also putting an equation mark between the Kurds’ sense of being unfairly treated, on the one side and subversion or treason on the other side. Turkish and Kurdish citizens deserve to be treated equally by their country –Turkey, and the radicals on both sides who look at each other as enemies must be isolated. The clever handling of the Ocalan case may boost this opportunity.


IV The National Perspectives: Specific Developments

1. Azerbaijan

The recent clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan remind the analysts of considering the issue of the actual quantities of the Azeri oil reserves in the Azerbaijan part of the Caspian shelf and their realisability. The oil glut on the world markets and the high transportation costs are additional factors of a rather pessimistic background of assessing the aspirations of the leadership of this country. If the ambitions of President Aliev concerning the oil deposits fail then social unrest is not impossible. A more balanced approach to the problems with Armenia are strategically significant for the internal stability of Azerbaijan in the longer term.

2. Bulgaria

(1) On 16 June 1999 the Bulgarian Parliament ratified the agreement for the TRACECA corridor, signed in September 1998 in Baku. This will open legally the opportunity of a more intensive Bulgarian presence in the Caucasus and active economic cooperation with the countries of the region. The Parliament ratified also agreements on the avoidance of double taxation of income and property with Georgia and Albania – members of the OBSEC. (2) In the beginning of May 1999 the President of Bulgaria visited Uzbekistan and in the end of June 1999 the President of the Uzbeki Parliament visited Bulgaria. Both countries are generators of stability in their respective regions and partners in TRACECA. Uzbekistan considers Bulgaria a strategic partner and the Bulgarian Black Sea ports of Varna and Bourgas – the Uzbeki gates to Europe and the shortest link to the old continent. While the way to Europe from Uzbekistan through Russia is 7,900 km, it is 5,300 km through Varna. (3) On 17 June 1999 the Bulgarian Foreign Minister opened in Beijing a Bulgarian-Chinese business forum with the participation of companies from the two countries. Economic cooperation was the accent of this official visit.

3. Georgia

The President of Georgia, Edward Shevardnadze survived a planned attempt of assassination in the last week of May 1999. According to the President the pro-Western policy of Georgia is the fundamental reason for conservative forces in Georgia and Russia to seek ways of his neutralisation. He warned in a radio-address that similar attempts are possible in November 1999 when parliamentary elections are to take place. President Shevardnadze is a key factor of the political stability of Georgia. He survived terrorist attacks against him in 1995 and in 1998.

4. Moldova

(1) The efforts of the President to enlarge his constitutional power by organising a referendum on 23 May 1999 have been countered by the legislative body through adopting a decision that nullifies the results of the referendum as missing a legal ground for its realisation. (2) The World Bank has provided in the end of May 1999 a credit for two years for the reform of the health-care system.

5. Russia

(1) On 19 May 1999 the Russian Duma approved the President’s nominee for Prime-Minister – Sergei Stepashin by a majority of 301 to 55 and 14 abstained. The President dismissed ex-prime-minister Primakov – his dangerous political rival, and fended off an impeachment vote. These three political victories of B. Yeltsin are likely to ensure relative calm for serving out the rest of his term. (2) The First Deputy Prime-Minister of Russia Nikolai Aksionenko visited on 27 June 1999 Belarus and clarified the Russian position for the future of the bilateral union. The unification is expected to be a long process based on confederation principles. A fundamental issue for Russia in the post-Soviet period is how to preserve its influence in an area that historically has been considered a ‘dominated territory’. The CIS formula has worked well in dismantling the Soviet Federation in a relatively peaceful way. But the evolution of relationships between CIS countries and their immediate non-CIS members is leading to the emergence of new subregions. No matter how weak they might be they are already beginning to shape social and political developments that form the history of these areas. Russia is gradually losing its hegemonic power over these new subregions and a new set of horizontal relations are competing successfully with the traditional vertical relations. The union with Belarus is hardly a comfort, compensating the loss of these new and perspective subregions. (3) In the third week of April 1999 Russia and China completed the last working meeting of the Russian-Chinese commission for demarcation of the state borders. Though two minor questions remain to hang unsolved and there exist joint management of certain disputed regions the bilateral agreements of 1991 and 1994 are considered fulfilled. A more than 4,200 km border with 2,444 islands is considered legally regulated in a stable way. At the same time the two countries have negotiated with Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan and Tadjikistan agreements of military cooperation and of disarmament along the borders. During the third week of June 1999 a big, high level and professionally diverse Chinese military delegation visited Moscow headed by the Deputy Chairman of the Central Military Commission, which controls the Chinese armed forces. During the first two weeks of June 1999 two high-level Russian commanders of the armed forces visited Beijing. The bilateral military projects till 2005 are expected to reach $6 bln., including high-tech armaments. Russia is supposed to provide China with cruise-missiles and anti-radar missiles. The Russian First Deputy Minister of Defence, N. Mihailov told the delegation Russia will deepen the strategic cooperation with both China and India.

6. Turkey

(1) After the April 1999 general elections B. Ecevit and his left-wing Democratic Left Party (DSP) formed a coalition government with the extreme right-wing NAP (Nationalist Action Party) – in power for the first time after 20 years, and with the liberal Motherland Party of former Prime-Minister M. Yilmaz. The core of the government program is crushing Islamic revival and Kurdish separatism; amending the constitution to allow international arbitration in cases of disputes about energy investments; preserving the anti-inflation policies since the end of 1997, carrying the social security and the agricultural subsidies reforms (all monitored by the IMF). (2) The Turkish Prosecution claimed on 23 June 1999 death penalty for 51 Islamists for attempting to eliminate through violence the secular government of the country.

7. Ukraine

On 31 October 1999 presidential elections are to be held in Ukraine. Only 7% of the Ukrainians are opposing the present President Kuchma. However, grave economic and social issues are going to shape importantly the political attitudes in the following weeks and months. Inflation is rising and it may reach 70%. Unemployment dramatically goes up. The government owes back wages and pensions to millions of people. Ukraine is very close to failing to fulfil its international debt. Though Ukraine was rather negative to the NATO operation ”Allied ForceÓ against FRY it will join KFOR. G. Robertson, the UK Defence Minister was in Kyiv on 17-18 June 1999 and discussed the military cooperation of the two countries. Ukraine has very constructive foreign policy ambitions – to serve as a buffer to the horizontal relations in Europe and as a bridge to the vertical ones, mainly in the Baltic-Black Sea zone.


V The Bilateral and the Multilateral Relations in the Black Sea Region

1. Bilateral Contacts

a) Russia-Ukraine

In the end of June 1999 Ukraine lifted its ban on movement of the Russian Black Sea Navy without the consent of 10 Ukrainian official institutions at least three days before sailing away. Moscow’s protest was an unidentified strong diplomatic motion.

b) Ukraine-Turkey

On 21-23 May 1999 the President of Turkey Demirel visited Kyiv and discussed the issues of the transportation of Caspian oil, military-technical cooperation and the social and economic support for the Tatars that return back to Crimea.

c) Armenia-Bulgaria

The joint bilateral economic commission discussed in mid-April 1999 in Sofia the details of the transportation of goods from and to Bourgas, Batumi and Poti on the Black Sea and by railway – eventually through Armenia to Iran.

d) Turkey-Greece

The Foreign Ministers of the two countries, Cem and Papandreou held on 13 June 1999 in Istanbul private talks on Kosovo and the southern flank of NATO.

e) Bulgaria-Moldova

On 11 June 1999 the First Deputy Prime Minister of Moldova Nikolae Andronik discussed in Sofia the transiting of fresh and spent nuclear fuel between the Kozloduy nuclear plant and Russia via Moldova and Ukraine. Customs cooperation and joint fighting organised crime entered the agenda of the bilateral relations.

f) Moldova-Romania

In the end of April 1999 the President of the Moldovan Parliament D. Diakov visited Bucharest and in the end of May 1999 the Prime-Minister of Romania visited Chisinau. The preparation of the bilateral treaty of cooperation was central to the discussions. While Bucharest insists the language of the treaty to be Romanian the other side is firm on drafting it into both Romanian and Moldovan. The signing will be by the end of this year by the two Presidents – Konstantinescu and Luchinski.

g) Bulgaria-Russia

On 6-8 June 1999 the Prime-Minister of Bulgaria Ivan Kostov visited Moscow and met with the Russian Prime-Minister Stepashin. Five agreements in the economic, financial and legal fields of cooperation were signed. The controversial issue of the passage of Russian planes, troops and supplies to the KFOR contingent through Bulgaria was in the bilateral agenda.

h) Russia-Moldova

At a working visit to Moldova the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister L. Drachevsky discussed bilateral relations and the ways of handling the Pridniestrovie conflict.

i) Bulgaria-Ukraine

On 8 June 1999 the CGS of the Ukrainian armed forces, Gen. Vladimir Shkidenko visited Sofia and met with his Bulgarian counterpart, Gen. Miho Mihov. On 9-10 June 1999 the Bulgarian President, Peter Stoyanov visited Kyiv and met wit President Leonid Kuchma. They discussed a broad range of areas of cooperation.

2. Multilateral Relations

a) Ukraine-Russia-Bulgaria

A cable optic system through the Black Sea worth of $51 mil. was put under construction in mid-April 1999 by the US Tyco Submarine Systems. It will be 1,300 km long and will link the three countries.

b) Georgia-Ukraine-Azerbaijan

On 17 April 1999 the Presidents of the three states – Shevardnadze, Kuchma and Aliev opened the 830 km long oil pipe-line Baku-Supsa. On the next day President Shevardnadze opened the new ferryboat link Poti (on the Black Sea coast of Georgia) – Ilichovsk (Ukraine). The Bulgarian port of Varna is linked with Ilichovsk and Poti. A few days earlier, on 13 April 1999 in Georgia was started a military exercise with the participation of the armed forces of the three countries. Their ”taskÓ was to provide the defence of pipe-lines and communication facilities. The political objective was to demonstrate the capability of the three countries to defend the Caspian oil on its way westwards. The exercise was in the context of the PfP of NATO, said the Georgian Minister of Defence, David Tevzadze.

c) GUUAM (Georgia-Ukraine-Uzbekistan-Azerbaijan-Moldova)

During the Washington Summit of NATO in the end of April 1999 the four countries of the one-year old GUAM signed a pact adding to it Uzbekistan. The new alliance is meant to strengthen members’ political and economic independence from Russia and develop ties with the West. It is expected mainly to develop the area’s rich oil and gas deposits. Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan are the oil and gas providers, while Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova offer export routes to the West. Ukraine gives a strong political and partly, military backing to these ambitions. There is a clear shared interest of the countries for cooperation within the TRACECA project that will revive the old ”Silk RoadÓ between Europe and Asia. Georgia, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan have already pulled out of the CIS collective security pact this spring. Ukraine and Moldova never joined it. Turkey, the USA, Great Britain and Israel are aligning from the outside with GUUAM – international actors with a record of investments in and trading with this region in the last several years. All GUUAM countries are Partners for Peace of NATO. The GUUAM cooperation has moved into the military field with plans to create a joint peacekeeping battalion under the UN umbrella, avoiding the reliance on Russian peacekeepers.


VI State of the Regional Initiatives: the BSEC

1. Economic Aspects of the Black Sea Cooperation

The 13th Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs (MMFA) was held on 30 April 1999 in Tbilisi, Georgia and was preceded by the meeting of the Senior Officials on 28-29 April 1999. Austria, Egypt, Israel, Italy, Slovakia and the BSEC Business Council participated as observers. France and Germany were granted an observer status. Representatives of the EC, OSCE, UNDP, PABSEC, International Centre for Studies and the Black and Azov Seas Ports Association attended the meeting too. Since BSEC became a full-fledged regional economic organisation an Additional Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the BSEC was signed. The host of the 14th MMFA on 27 October 1999 will be Greece.

A significant step in the inter-regional integration process was the elaboration and the approval of the BSEC–EU Platform for Cooperation. The meeting supported the initiative of the BSEC Business Council to establish a Business Information Exchange Network. An impediment to the further development of the BSEC is the low efficiency of implementing adopted decisions, recognised the Ministers.

On 21 June 1999 the President of the Black Sea Bank for Trade and Development (BSBTD), Ersoy Volkan said in Thessaloniki the bank will try to finance projects in partnership with the EBRD, the EIB and other IFIs. This is important for the projects of reconstructing the Balkans after the war in Kosovo. The BSBTD forecasts a 2% drop of the economic growth of the countries from the region.

2. Political and Security Aspects of the Black Sea Regional Cooperation

(1) At the MMFA in Tbilisi on 30 April 1999 was confirmed that enhancing peace and security through economic cooperation will continue to be the leading philosophy of the BSEC in the next century. In addition, proposals were made to adopt an appropriate document that will define the BSEC strategy for establishing a stable and secure political environment – a solid basis for economic cooperation. The interaction of the OBSEC, OSCE and NATO were mentioned to be of a particular importance. The New Charter on Comprehensive Security for the 21st Century, elaborated by the OSCE can strengthen the non-hierarchical, mutually reinforcing nature of the relationship between OBSEC and OSCE. The BSEC can contribute to the overall security, prosperity and development of the whole OSCE area. There were also ideas of cooperation with NATO on specific issues.

While the security of the pipelines in the BSEC region and its adjacent areas remains mostly an obligation of the national governments, there is a role for NATO too. It is still a delicate issue – NATO taking charge over the transportation of energy supplies from the Caspian region. However, the framework of the EAPC and the PfP format can be better utilised and the OBSEC is a significant point of contact for such a mission. The first steps may be discussing the security of the oil and gas routes to the West and what cooperative approaches can be developed. (2) An international Navy exercise within the PfP – ”Cooperative Partner ‘99Ó, took place in the third week of June 1999 in the Black Sea. It is the third one in the last years hosted by the Bulgarian Navy. The initial plan was changed by the absence of US special and marine units due to the crisis in Kosovo and a last minute decision of Ukraine to cut from participation its two ships. 12 ships from France, Greece, Turkey, USA, Georgia and Romania and 10 battle ships and 6 supporting patrol boats from Bulgaria were participants in the exercise. Albania and Azerbaijan – two BSEC members, sent observers. Navy aircraft and helicopters from Turkey, Greece, US, Romania and Bulgaria exercised coordination with ships. A French frigate was stopped at the Bosphorus for not providing the documents required by the Montreux Convention (1936).


VII External Factors (States and Institutions) Influencing the Black Sea Region

1. Council of Europe

On 27 April 1999 Georgia officially became the 41st member of the CE after signing the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Armenia and Azerbaijan – two states of the Southern Caucasus, are not yet admitted to the CE because of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.


NATO will expand its partnerships with all PfP countries, including the countries in the Caucasus, said Stephen Sestanovich, Ambassador-at-large and special adviser to the US Secretary of State for the New Independent States on 20 April 1999 in a TV broadcast to Armenia and Georgia. Ukraine, another country from the Black Sea region is going to host a PfP exercise in August 1999 in Lviv.

Basically NATO’s interest and involvement in the broader Black Sea-Caspian Sea region stem from the following factors: 1) the treaty ties with Turkey – member of the Alliance; 2) the strategic importance of the Caspian energy reservoir, breeding the notion of getting an alternative to the Persian Gulf; 3) the application of the CFE Flank Zone Agreement, and 4) the increased activity of the NATO PfP programme in the Caucasus and in Central Asia as part of NATO’s enlargement policy. Areas of cooperation with the states from these two regions may successfully include civil emergency planning, environmental protection, scientific and technical cooperation.

3. USA

The award of the US Trade and Development Agency to the Bulgarian Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works worth $588,000 is for carrying out a feasibility study for a trans-Balkan pipeline. The study is in support of the US company AMBO that works with major US oil companies to develop a crude oil pipeline to transport Russian, Azerbaijani, Turkmeni and Kazakhstani oil through Bulgaria, FYROMacedonia and Albania. This pipeline will serve to bypass the heavily trafficked Bosphorus Straits and limit eventual environmental degradation in this sensitive area. It would complement other proposed regional pipelines.

The USA defends active interests and clear objectives in the area stretching from the Caspian to the Adriatic Seas. Considering the encouragement of Russia to be part of the Western systems, the US will very probably try to accommodate Russia in Central Asia and the Caucasus. That may lead to modification or adjustment of some ambitious plans in an effort to please Russia. This will inevitably mean a more balanced American approach relative to the major ally in the region – Turkey.


VIII The Security Situation and the Region-Building Opportunities: Conclusions

1. The conflict management issues dominated over the post-conflict rehabilitation and conflict prevention activities during the April-June 1999 period. The Kosovo crisis additionally polarised informal alliances or axes. Major dividing issues in the implementation of the ‘new pipe-line’ and ‘transport corridor’ projects relative to Russia are the diverging Russian interests about the energy supply and transport routes from Asia to Europe. A perception of encirclement from the West is created in an economically backward and missing fresh credits Russian state. The conflicts in the Caucasus showed a tendency of reviving. The complex Kurdish question is back with the probability to escalate dangerously or find a lasting political solution.

2. The social and democratic immaturity of many of the states in the region continued to hamper the region-building opportunities. The improvement of the regional infrastructure will necessarily require the mobilisation of private resources apart from the limited funds of the EU. This, however, would require more stability and improved legal environment. The countries from the Black Sea region are taking initiatives that would prove they can proceed with the modernisation of the economy and the infrastructure of the region with external cooperation.



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

Dr. Sc. Venelin Tsachevsky

Phone/Fax: ++(359 - 2-) 551 828

Mr. Ivan Tsvetkov, M. A.

E-Mail Address:

Dr. Dinko Dinkov


Dr. Todor Tagarev




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