Azerbaijan plays critical role in overall national, economic security of Europe

Trend Agency's exclusive interview with Amos J. Hochstein, US Secretary of State’s Special Envoy for International Energy Affairs, Bureau of Energy Resources.

Can you please share your views on the current state of the U.S. - Azerbaijan relationship?

The United States and Azerbaijan enjoy a strong relationship, working together for the last 23 years since Azerbaijan’s independence. We have strengthened this bilateral relationship though our partnership on regional energy security. As is often the case with friends, we don’t always agree on all things but we clearly understand the importance of the relationship. Both our countries work hard to ensure that whatever differences we may have don’t affect our shared strategic interests both regionally and internationally.

You are known as a strong supporter of the Southern Gas Corridor. Can you please tell us what you think about Azerbaijan's contribution to regional and global energy security?

Azerbaijan plays a critical role in global energy security and in particular a key role for real energy security in Europe. In the 1990s, when the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, or the BTC, pipeline was being conceptualized, it was the vision and understanding of the leadership of Azerbaijan, who in sharing that vision with then President Clinton, at that time recognized that this pipeline was about more than just oil in a pipe, it was about the strategic nature of Azerbaijan as a member of the international community and the world energy community.
This pipeline allowed for oil from the Caspian region, for the first time, to reach international markets on a free market basis. I see the Southern Corridor as completing the circle that began with President Heydar Aliyev in the 1990s with BTC and being completed by President Ilham Aliyev with the Southern Gas Corridor.
Europe today suffers from a legacy of infrastructure that commits several countries to an untenable position of being forced to buy gas from Russia, a single dominant supplier who uses that position as political leverage for economic and political coercion. The Southern Corridor bringing gas from Azerbaijan all the way into Europe, is the only true diversification project in Europe today because it brings new gas through a new route providing real option for competition.
That is why I believe Azerbaijan’s role in energy security in Europe is so critical and since energy security is the foundation of economic security and national security for every country, that means Azerbaijan plays a critical role in the overall national and economic security of Europe.

21.01.2016 15:36 / Hits: 724 / Print
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