In early September, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev accepted the credentials of the new US ambassador Richard Morningstar. Thus, the period of instability in the work of the US embassy in Baku was finished. After the mission of Ann Dercy came to an end in July 2009, the position of the American ambassador was free for more than a year. Later the president of the US Barack Obama appointed to the position an experienced diplomat, the former co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group Mathew Brayza by-passing the Senate. However, due to an active resistance of the Armenian lobby in the Senate Brayza’s career ended sooner than it should: he managed to work only for a year, after which his functions were not prolonged. READ MORE
Longstanding confrontation between Russia and the European Union may end with the uniting of the Nabucco and South Stream gas pipelinesThe idea of possible uniting of two competing pipeline projects – “South Stream” and Nabucco – has been presented again: this was stated by the US Ambassador to Italy David Torn during the interview for Italian newspaper La Stampa. Earlier it was announced by the managers of Italian ENI. Russia treats the kind of prospect more than skeptic, although one shouldn’t ignore that in reality there is no absolute consensus on this issue inside the tandem. READ MORE
What do big Eurasian energy pipelines have in common with U.S. military projects? Once they're proposed, they refuse to die -- they assume a life of their own, and haunt us until someone finally manages to drive a stake into their heart. And by that time, the chessboard has wholly changed, forcing everyone to adjust to a new set of rules.. READ MORE
Turkey and Azerbaijan have proven unable to conclude their negotiations on natural gas cooperation, which have been in progress for over one year. Turkish-Azeri gas talks include several issues involving the revision of the price Turkey pays for its imports from Shah Deniz-I, the determination of the volume and price for its imports from Shah Deniz-II, and agreement on the volume and conditions for the transit of Azeri exports to Europe through Turkish territory. READ MORE
Today the gas pipeline Nabucco is probably the most important Western energy project in Eurasia. If implemented, it would significantly reduce energy dependence of the EU on Russia. Therefore Nabucco acquires a wide geopolitical dimension exceeding its possible economic benefit. READ MORE
One of his first foreign visits as new President took Barack Obama to Ankara for a high-profile meeting with Prime Minister Recep Erdogan and other leading Turkish officials. Obama engaged in classical “horse trading” wheeling and dealing. “I give you support for Turkey’s EU membership; you open the diplomatic door to Armenia,” appears to have been the core of the deal. What other inducements the US President gave in the case of Turkish influence within NATO and such is secondary. Obama’s goal was to break a political deadlock in Turkey to construction of a major gas pipeline to Germany and other EU countries in direct opposition to Russian Gazprom’s South Stream pipeline. READ MORE
For years, analysts have argued that the Nabucco natural gas pipeline -- a U.S.-backed effort to transport gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe via Turkey, thus bypassing Russia -- needed to accept gas from Iran if it was to be economically viable. But Iranian involvement in the project, which is intended to reduce European energy dependence on Russian gas exports, has been anathema for U.S. policymakers: Washington's efforts to thwart Iran's ambitions have so far overridden its desire to thwart Russia's. READ MORE
Answers by the US Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy, Ambassador Richard L Morningstar, to questions by Novinite.com's Ivan Dikov during Morningstar's press conference after the end of the Sofia Energy Summit "Natural Gas for Europe", April 25, 2009.