October 2009

Custom Union Impedes WTO Joining

By Aleksey Portanskij

Geneva welcomed first joint conferences of delegations from Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus with WTO member-states on joining this organization. As a result Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus intend to resume negotiations on joining the World Trade Organization as individual states, but in cooperation with each other. And the three states still strive to join WTO as soon as possible as a Custom Union.

Turkmenistan: Ashgabat Energy-Reserve Controversy Continues To Flare

By Regis Gente

Are Turkmenistan’s energy reserve figures fudged or not? Just over a week after allegations first surfaced that the Turkmen government’s claims are grossly hyped, the controversy over Ashgabat’s export capacity is still flaring. Representatives of the firm that conducted the original audit are vigorously defending their reputation for thoroughness. Meanwhile, a whistleblower says he remains confident in the accuracy of his sources’ information.

Azerbaijan-Russia Gas Agreement: Implications For Nabucco Project

By Vladimir Socor

On October 14 in Baku, Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company president Rovnag Abdullayev and Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller signed an agreement on Azerbaijani gas exports to Russia. The move is a logical follow-up to the June 29 agreement, signed by the same company chiefs –in the presence of Presidents Ilham Alyiev and Dmitry Medvedev in Baku on that occasion– on the main principles of the gas trade between the two countries.

RFE/RL Interview: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden

In an exclusive interview, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke with RFE/RL correspondents Brian Whitmore and Abubakar Siddique about the U.S. administration's policy on Russia, the Caucasus, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. Biden assured Central and Eastern Europeans of the United States' commitment to the region, and said that the United States will not ignore concerns about democracy in dealing with Iran on its nuclear program.

Russia Joins The Samsun-Ceyhan Pipeline

By Saban Kardas

On October 19, Turkey, Italy and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding on the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline (SCP). Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, the Italian Economic Development Minister Claudio Scajola and the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, inked the agreement that regulates the commitments of the three partners to the SCP. Despite the several signing ceremonies organized in the past for the SCP, the construction work did not commence.