5.09.2009

This gas line has a lot of positive possibilities

The EU is looking south -- to the south Caucasian states, that is -- at long last; and it could have a number of very good outcomes:
The "Southern Corridor-New Silk Road" summit brought together leaders and ministers of the EU and Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Egypt -- all either key suppliers of natural gas, crucial transit countries, or both.

Two suppliers -- Azerbaijan and Egypt -- and two key transit states -- Turkey and Georgia -- agreed to give "the necessary political support," and, where possible, "technical and financial assistance" to the construction of planned pipelines and transport routes needed to bring gas from the Caspian Basin region and the Middle East to the European market.

This comes, of course, on the heels of NATO exercises in Georgia (very briefly noted here), and may signal something of a redrawing of the lines of demarcation in the Caucasus -- Russia is hardening its control of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but may be losing its grip on the sovereign states to its south.

Moreover, the talks could help to re-start talks of Turkish EU accession:
In particular, the summit gave a boost to the Nabucco project, with a commitment by Turkey's President Abdullah Gul to sign up to a deal on the construction of the gas pipeline running from the eastern border of Turkey to Austria by next month. But Gul made clear he expected some progress on Turkey's stalled EU membership talks. [emphasis added]