U.S.: Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan should independently decide on gas cooperation with Europe
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 28/ Trend V. Zhavoronkova/
Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan should independently decide on how they are going to cooperate with Europe in the energy issues, U.S. Ambassador Matthew Bryza said on Wednesday during the meeting of Caspian European Integration Business Club (CEIBC).
"Our view is very strong that is no one else's business how Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan decide to cooperate with Europe," he added.
He underscored that the U.S. and its European allies are very interested in diversifying the natural gas supply. But, it is completely up to the European Union, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan what happens in terms of flow of natural gas from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan and beyond. Bryza said no one has a right to intervene in this matter.
He voiced the U.S. support to Azerbaijan in the framework of the bilateral, saying that the country offers a strong support to the implementation of the Trans Caspian pipeline project.
"I am very glad that this interconnection between Europe and Turkmenistan makes absolute commercial sense. It will be implemented unless one does something really strong to block it. But the European Union decided on it and stated that all its machinery will do everything possible to execute this decision," Bryza said.
He underscored that the U.S. cares about the implementation of the whole Southern Energy Corridor and its member states and their European allies are independent and has a right to make own decisions.
Early September the EU adopted a mandate to negotiate a legally binding treaty between the EU, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to build a Trans-Caspian Pipeline System.
Later, Iran and Russia expressed negative attitude toward this project. Tehran and Moscow think that the pipeline construction will damage the Caspian Sea environment.
The 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 EU 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.