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Kommersant: Cheney’s trip to Baku “failed”

Posted by seumasach on September 6, 2008

 

Regnum

6th September

Vice President of the USA Dick Cheney completed his trip to the South Caucasus targeted at strengthening Washington’s positions in the struggle for Caspian energy resources. Kommersant Daily qualifies the outcome of Baku talks as “failure.” The daily accounts that President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev did not offer to the US guest a warm reception, hinting that Baku was not intending to support the idea of retracting energy carriers’ flows to bypass Russia.

The daily details: “Dick Cheney’s visit to Azerbaijan proved utterly unsuccessful for Washington. The high-ranking guest, who was visiting Baku for the first time, was not met by either President Ilham Aliyev or even Prime Minister Artur Rasizade. Instead, the Vice President was welcomed by First Deputy Prime Minister Yagub Eyyubov and Foreign Minister Elmar Mamedyarov. What about Ilham Aliyev, he was not in a hurry to receive Mr. Cheney. So the latter first headed to a meeting with President of BP Azerbaijan Company and top management of Chevron’s Azerbaijan subsidiary, proceeding then to the US embassy to Baku to converse with Ambassador Ann E. Derse. To the Azerbaijan President’s residence Dick Cheney made it toward evening.” As sources in the President’s administration commented to Kommersant, the talks were rather difficult, although Dick Cheney and Ilham Aliyev have had confidential relations from the times when Mr. Cheney used to be employed by Halliburton and Mr. Aliyev as Vice President of the state-run oil company SOCAR. The sides conferred on the war in Georgia and prospects of Nabucco gas pipeline construction.

According to Kommersant’s information, “Dick Cheney informed Ilham Aliyev that the USA were going to firmly support their allies in the region and intended to further extend the trans-Caspian gas pipeline circumventing Russia. Ilham Aliyev, however, hinted that, despite his high esteem of relations with Washington, he was not going to quarrel with Moscow. It essentially meant that, in the current situation, Baku decided to wait and see rather than accelerate realizaiton of Nabucco.” Kommersant sources in President’s administration accounted that Dick Cheney was highly irritated with the talks’ outcome — he even refused to attend a ceremonial supper given in his honor.

Kommersant cites sources in the State Chancellery of Georgia who said that closed negotiations between Mikhail Saakashvili and Dick Cheney in Tbilisi also had not gone smoothly. The sides mainly discussed security of existing pipelines laid through the Georgian territory round Russia, and the Nabucco pipeline project. Dick Cheney made it clear that the USA were ready to maintain security of these pipelines, however, by merely political means, so Georgia would not receive US military aid at the moment.

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