(July - September 2003)

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

Research Study 19

Hard Copy: ISSN 1311 – 3259


  1. Terrorism/Post-Conflict Rehabilitation in Afghanistan and Iraq
  2. The Delimitation of the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea: the Caspian Sea
  3. Oil and Gas Issues
  1. Chechnya
  2. Transdniester
  3. Nagorno Karabakh
  1. Bilateral Relations
  2. Trilateral Cooperation: Azerbaijan - Georgia - Turkey
3. CIS
  1. Economic Aspects of the Black Sea Cooperation: National and Regional Perspectives
  2. Political and Security Aspects of Black Sea Regional Cooperation and EU and NATO/PfP Activities

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 action.
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 democracy.
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 of relationships.

II. Background Profile of the Black Sea-Caspian Sea Area: Sources of Conflict

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 eventually.
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:
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.


1. 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.

2. 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.


1. 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 government officials.
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 2004.
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.


1. Bilateral Relations
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.

2. 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.

3. CIS
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.


1. 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 million.
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.

2. Political and Security Aspects of the Black Sea Regional Cooperation and EU and NATO/PfP Activities

a) BLACKSEAFOR. 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.

b) EU
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 cooperation.
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.


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.



Dr. Plamen Pantev, Editor–in–Chief

ISSN 1311 – 3259

Dr. Tatiana Houbenova-Delissivkova

Address: ISIS, 1618 Sofia,

Mr. Valeri Rachev, M. A.

P. O. Box 231, Bulgaria

Mr. Ivan Tsvetkov, M. A.

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

Dr. Todor Tagarev

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