Alan Waddams: “New pipelines can be created to bring the Caspian energy reserves to Europe�

Alan Waddams: “New pipelines can be created to bring the Caspian energy reserves to Europe�
# 12 January 2007 15:30 (UTC +04:00)
- What is the purpose of opening the delegation and how your state will change after that? Are there any delegations like this in other South Caucasus countries?
- The relations between Azerbaijan and EU are developing. For different reasons the office didn’t open here, but now it is very important. We established the delegations in Tbilisi and Alma-Ati some years ago, but these are the only full delegations in these regions. Now we have the ENP. And that’s why it is so important to have the embassy here. We have a small office in Armenia. We plan to open an embassy. But it is not so important now. My main office is in Brussels. My job is to create contacts with the government and to establish the embassy. When the embassy is established, its head will have the status of ambassador and my mission as a special envoy will be over.
- The TACIS program was to be over after adopting the Action Plan. Is the TACIS program over or there are any new programs in the planning?
- Officially, TACIS came to an end on January 1st this year, but there are unaccomplished projects and the process continues. From 1992 until the end of 2006 TACIS was implemented in Post Soviet countries and the projects implemented in Azerbaijan cost EUR400 m. We will start new programs within the ENP program. The funds will increase and the programs will be more comprehensive.
- When is EU going to start the implementation of the projects within the Action Plan?
- One of the main purposes of the Action Plan is the conformation of social, political, economical spheres of Azerbaijan to EU standards. It includes issues on industry, human rights and democracy. We started the planning stage now. In fact there was a team out here in December which was busy with that. The first project will start in the end of this year. It is an economical project and it is called “Public financial management�. The second project will probably cover the sphere of energy.
- The Action plan was adopted for South Caucasian countries. Azerbaijan has 10 priorities, and how many do Armenia and Georgia have?
- They are actually similar. But in Armenian Action plan there are over 8 and in Georgian – over 10 priorities.
- What projects does the energy strategy signed between European Commission and Azerbaijan some days ago before the Action plan suggest? Are economic projects planned to be implemented within Energy Protocol?
- Yes, they are. A part of the EU foreign policy is to establish relations with partner countries. EU implements the energy policy within “Enogate� program. This program means transportation of the Central Asia oil and gas to European countries. After the latest problem with Belarus the energy security again emphasized for Europe. Our relations with Azerbaijan are not based only on energy. We want to cooperate in all the spheres of political and economic relations. The ambition of ENP was to establish a zone around Europe of close working relationship with countries in politics and economy. That is, why political aspects, as democracy, human rights are of the same importance as the economic issues.
- Do you think that BTC that already exists and South Caucasus Gas Pipeline which is being constructed, will be used in the future projects or will the new ones be created?
- Given the quantity of oil and gas in the Caspian region it is possible that when the present pipelines will reach their capacity there will be found alternative roots. It is not negotiated now but we have it in perspective. But the plan “on the table� has to go through physical, financial negotiations. Azerbaijan is very important in this field because it is a key country. That’s why we want this region to develop positively and be peaceful.
- Will EU be a mediator in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict when the embassy is opened? Some of our experts say that the resolution will be done easier if EU will become one of the co-chairs.
- At present we have the ongoing system with the OCSE Minsk Group. If it changes with something else and EU will be invited, then it might join. But one of the priority areas of the Action Plan is to contribute with the NK conflict settlement. /APA/