Second session of Caspian Forum focuses on European energy security

As informed earlier, on September 25, Caspian Forum, organized by the Caspian Strategy Institute (HASEN), was held at New York`s finest Hotel Waldorf Astoria.
During the second session of the forum, energy security, current and future developments were discussed and opinions exchanged. The session consisted of a round table discussion, including the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, Greece, Special Envoys and Representatives for U.S. and EU. The panel, moderated by renowned TV anchor Charlie Rose, focused on positions of aforementioned governments. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Davutoglu gave an overview about the importance of the project, stating that aside from economically connecting several regions and countries, the project will contribute to political order in the region as a whole. “South Corridor is set to establish peace and prosperity,” said the foreign minister. Speaking of earlier projects such as BTC, BTE, Davutoglu highlighted the fact that South Corridor will grow as the number of sources, including Turkmenistan and the Middle East, is expected to add. In her statements, the Foreign Minister of Georgia Maia Panjikidze said that Georgia was a key link for transportation of resources from the Caspian to the West. She underlined that the Southern Corridor is the continuation of successful projects such as BTC and South Caucasus Pipeline. She concluded by saying that as a transit country Georgia supports any initiative that facilitates the processes of stability and prosperity and that implementation of such projects enables spirit of cooperation and trust.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov talked about the strategic importance of the Southern Corridor project for the participating countries and Europe, as a whole. Citing the start of export of oil through BTC pipeline as a project that changed the whole picture in the region, the minister praised the active involvement of the leadership of Azerbaijan. Mammadyarov also talked about other regional projects undertaken and initiated by Azerbaijan, including Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad, communication and trade projects and stated that the partners must continue to build on the success in the next 5 years for general prosperity in the region. The head of the foreign ministry also talked about the occupation of nearly 20% of Azerbaijani territories by the Armenian armed forces and four UN SC Resolutions demanding immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops, and stated that if Armenia stops its occupation policy, it may join the regional projects.
The Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece Dimitri Kourkoulas talked about the importance of contribution of the Southern Corridor for the Greek economy and the people. The project will create 5 thousand direct and nearly 20 thousand indirect jobs.
The Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs from the Bureau of Energy Resources of U.S. State Department, Carlos Pascual was next to speak. He stated that the U.S. government was glad to be at the forum to express support for the initiative. Pascual told the audience that the bureau was doing its utmost to create connection between producers and consumers because the “supply to consumers is the fundamental base for economic growth”. The special envoy underlined that BTC had become the platform for the independence of a nation. He also voiced support for new sources from other exporting nations to add supplies to the pipeline. Finally, he praised the Azerbaijani leadership as well as the participants of the project for clear commercial understanding of the platform which creates economic development. “The big deal about South Corridor is that it will create a foundation for a sustained competition and the biggest impact is the stability of markets,” concluded Pascal.
The final speaker EU Special Representative for Central Asia Patricia Flor commended on the contribution of the participating states and said that for the key strategic objectives key decisions have still to be made. She expressed hope that the other sources from other regions will supplement the supply of gas to Europe. Flor also stated that Southern Corridor was a historic moment for Europe which would enable interconnectivity of European pipeline networks. All of the panelists expressed gratitude to the U.S. government for its support for realization of Southern Corridor.


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