Richard Lugar: Increase of Azerbaijani hydrocarbon exports impacts European security
Azerbaijan, Baku, May 29 / Trend /
The strengthening of Azerbaijan as an energy exporter impacts European security, former U.S. Senator Richard Lugar said at the final session of the Azerbaijani-American Forum "Vision for the future", which is taking place in Baku.
The former Senator said that a detailed and comprehensive speech by the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev made a big impression on him.
"I first met with President Heydar Aliyev in 1998 and saw an Azerbaijan that was in a transitional period after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Back then, the future of the country was unclear. Currently, Azerbaijan is an undoubted friend, business partner and military ally of the United States," Lugar said.
According to him, successful cooperation between the two countries will only grow in the future.
"Azerbaijan is successfully cooperating with the United States on land and at sea. We cooperate in many areas, but some of them are crucial to regional security. Regional security is of great importance outside the area as well. If Iran develops nuclear weapons, it would be unacceptable to both the U.S. and for Azerbaijan," Lugar said.
The senator noted that cooperation in the energy sector plays an important role in regional stability.
"Construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline played an important role in strengthening stability in the region and strengthening the international position of Azerbaijan," Lugar said.
The senator also said that the strengthening of Azerbaijan's role as an energy exporter affects Europe's security.
"It is necessary to draw attention to the fact that Russia affects Europe by using its influence over the Central Asian countries. In this context, it is important to force Russia to act within the framework of a market economy. Transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Central and Eastern Europe via Nabucco West and TAP is not only an economic solution. Geographical location ads strategic importance to this decision," the former senator said.
According to him, Nabucco West will deliver the gas to the energy-poor countries of Europe, and this will greatly ease the situation in those countries. In addition, Nabucco will create conditions for gas supplies to U.S. allies. All this will reduce Europe's dependence on Russia and Iran, Lugar said.
The senator noted that large amounts of resources create a comfortable environment for corruption.
"However, a transparent mechanism for the distribution of oil revenues, secured by President Ilham Aliyev, helped avoid it. This not only prevents the growth of corruption, but also creates conditions for the development of society," Lugar said.
He expressed confidence that the partnership between the two countries will develop in the future.