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Georgia may remain without gas even in the presence of Nabucco

Most likely, the gas pipe will be built. But hardly will it bring prosperity to all countries of the region.

Execution of the gas pipe Nabucco, which by significance is equal to the "Contract of the Century", i.e., to the oil pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, may fall to the ground. However, not at all will it occur through the fault of Russia, although the latter's indirect influence is perceived. Into this great gas game there interferes Iran and, what is most interesting - Armenia, which may take the place of Georgia in the prospective project. But if we also add Turkey's point of view to the project and to the profit expected from it, it becomes clear that there begins just another shuffle of interests.
PanARMENIAN.Net - It can seem from aside that Iran somewhat yielded its positions in the struggle for the right to dominate in the region of Turkey; however, the gas pipe can put everyone right. It is quite probable that Ankara and Teheran may agree on the basic directions of partnership and then Europe will have to deal not with Russia, which is on the whole predictable, but with Islamic countries. If we add to this the nuclear problem of Iran and the desire of Turkey to at any cost play the role of "dove of peace" in the Near East but in reality to solve for itself the Kurdish problem, it becomes obvious that because of Nabucco not only the European, but also the American diplomacy may be broken. The release of US citizen, journalist Roxana Saberi by the authorities of Iran was a very symbolic gesture. Tehran made it clear that she is intended to continue the civilized dialogue and makes another step forward towards the normalization of American-Iranian relations.

By logic of things, another signal must be given by Armenia and Turkey. Sure, Azerbaijan's position somehow hinders here, but it seems, Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit can cool down the red-hot heads of some political scientists in Baku.

In this distribution there is one more country, which for some reason is not considered notable enough, taking into account its instability, unsteadiness and the incapacity to establish a state. That country is Georgia, and for this very reason Tbilisi as never before is interested in normal relations with Armenia, but not with Azerbaijan, with which it forms one political block in GUAM.

The most important thing for Georgia is peace and stability in the region, therefore official Tbilisi's stance on Armenian-Turkish border opening is quite comprehensible: the earlier the boundary is opened, the better. Moreover, economic cooperation between Georgia, Armenia and Turkey will be to the benefit of all three states. "We never objected to border opening purely with economic considerations, as Georgia will get less for freight delivery. On the contrary, we have always supported the idea, because this is an alternative route for both Armenia and Georgia. Our countries have chosen the path towards European development. This necessarily implies open borders between neighboring states," said a source in the Georgian MFA.

Georgia now needs an ally opponent not only to Russia, but also to Turkey and Azerbaijan. But what disturbs the Georgian authorities most of all is the fear lest it all should prove the wrong way out - not Georgia, but Armenia will bridge the gas. Let us also not forget that the Nabucco project was refused by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan - precisely those countries, which can complete the pipeline, because no matter how much Azerbaijan exaggerates its gas reserves, they are insufficient for Nabucco. Baku knows it, but she is trying to blackmail Europe and her neighbors. In any case under the present distribution the position of Tbilisi is unenviable and she has only one hope - to rely on the good will of Armenia and that of Turkey a little bit.

"Meanwhile intergovernmental agreement on transportation of the Caspian gas within the framework of the Nabucco project is expected to be signed on June 25 in Ankara," said European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalg. The agreement, which is due to be signed in Ankara, will become a major step towards execution of the Nabucco project, directed to transportation of natural gas to Europe from Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Near East and called to destroy the monopoly of Russia against the European import of gas. "This is a complete breakthrough. The negotiations with Turkey were difficult. But Turks have accepted our terms. There is no conditionality. We are very close to signing an agreement", noted the Commissioner, writes the British newspaper "The Guardian".

Turkey would host a major portion of the 2,050-mile pipeline, which makes this country a sluice for gas supplies into Europe. Ankara insisted on the collection of tax for the gas pumped and required 15% of transit gas at reduced prices, but this would make the project financially pointless.

Most likely, the gas pipe will be built. But hardly will it bring prosperity to all countries of the region. The story of BTC may be repeated - profit goes only to BP and a little to Baku. But in the case of gas no one's position is beneficial, not even that of our neighbors, even if the pipe bypasses Armenia. Although, if the Armenian-Turkish negotiations somewhat stir, the pipe may even cross our country and not bypass it.

Karine Ter-Sahakyan
Karine Ter-Sahakyan / PanARMENIAN News
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