Expert: Trans-Caspian's future also depends on Turkmenistan's position

Expert: Trans-Caspian's future also depends on Turkmenistan's position

Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 12 /Trend, E.Tariverdiyeva/

Future of Trans-Caspian pipeline depends on many factors, including the position of Turkmenistan, the Director of the Russia-Eurasia Center of the Council on Foreign Policy of Germany, Trend Expert Council Member Alexandr Rahr believes.

"In the current situation, one of the most important issues in this project is the position of Turkmenistan, since Azerbaijan's presence or absence in the Trans-Caspian affects to a lesser extent," Rahr told Trend.

Today the European Union has adopted a mandate to negotiate a legally binding treaty between the EU, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to build a Trans Caspian Pipeline System, EU press-service says.

This is the first time that the European Union has proposed a treaty in support of an infrastructure project.

Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, with a length of 300 kilometers, will be laid from the Turkmen coast of the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan, where it will be connected to the Southern Gas Corridor. Talks between Turkmenistan and the European Union and other countries on the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline have been conducted since late 1990s. Its construction is now difficult because of unresolved status of the Caspian Sea.

Rahr said the EU proceeds from the fact that everything concerning Trans-Caspian takes place in the legal field, and that it deals with not a pipeline, but just with interconnector.
"However, Russia and Iran will continue sharp objection to the construction of a pipeline via the Caspian, which could create a tense situation. Moscow and Tehran will do everything to hinder this process," he said.

He said Turkmenistan's position will be decisive, since Azerbaijan now has enough gas to fill up part of Nabucco, but Trans-Caspian is necessary to transport Turkmen gas.

"Nabucco has a political mission to withdraw Central Asia from Russia's influence and bring it to the European market, and there is no other way except Trans-Caspian," Rahr said.
In this regard, according to expert, now Moscow will put more pressure on Ashgabat than Brussels, so it is early to speak of a final decision on the Trans-Caspian.

Ashgabat now has to decide because the EU wants specifics in the delivery of Central Asian resources to its markets, Rahr said.

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