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Oil and Caucasus unity

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, September 1
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has recently been actively promoting the idea of unity in the Caucasus. It is interesting to consider how this idea might be carried out. Some days ago, one of the Azeri high ranking officials stated that it is impossible to achieve the unity of the Caucasus without regulating the existing conflicts. He also added that in the event of regulating the Karabakh conflict all three south Caucasus countries could benefit from Azeri natural sources, analysts think however that this suggestion will not bring about any change in the current situation in the region. During the recent meeting in Batumi, on August 28, Azeri President representative, Ali Gasanov, stated that Azerbaijan has oil reserves for 30-50 years and natural gas reserves for 120 years, the profit from these assets would be enough to increase the quality of living not only in Azerbaijan, but the entire South Caucasus. This would become possible, if negbouring countries respect Azeri territorial integrity and sovereignty. Of course, in this regard, there are no problems between Azerbaijan and Georgia, Gasanov highlighted that no welfare will be achieved in the region if ethnic conflicts are not regulated. He also underlined the commitment of his country to cooperation with anybody.

It is obvious that this particular statement, as well as many others is designed to encourage Armenia to respond adequately. Their immediate reaction to this offer from the Azeri side, came from Moscow. Russian Nezavisimaia Gazeta called this formula 'naive', because, it was already seen in the nineties when Armenia was in a dire situation from an energy point of view, refused any benefits from Azerbaijan preferring instead to fight for Karabakh independence, so it is ridiculous to even think about such unity today.

Indeed, it is unlikely that Yerevan will make any concessions in regards to Karabakh; Armenia occupies not only this region of Azerbaijan, but almost one quarter of the territory of its neighboring country. Therefore, it is victorious and all the threats from the Azeri side and its military build up are just rhetoric. Yerevan has a powerful ally behind it, Russia. Moscow wants balanced policy between Baku and Yerevan, its sympathies are mostly with Armenia though because it supports Russian interests in the region more than any of the other countries.