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Armenia to take the neighbor’s “bread”?2010-11-03 15:52
Yerevan and Tbilisi stand for intensification of economic relations. According to Armenian PM Tigran Sargsyan, it is highly important for his country to be the neighbor of prosperous and well-developed Georgia. Still, the neighbors have a number of problems connected with Armenian cultural and historical monuments as well as Armenian community in Sakartvelo. There is one more issue, the uneasiest one, for establishing close ties: Nabucco pipeline is likely to be located in Armenia bypassing Georgia, as the USA, Georgia's overlord, has recently suggested.
Why should America lobby interests of Nabucco partners? It's as clear as day: the transoceanic hegemon is openly alarmed at the desire of Russia's Gazprom to create a unique gas transport system embracing North and South Streams. Simultaneously Washington urges some EU states to collude and get rid of the sole supplier. Russia watches these maneuvers with a motherly smile: any toy is ok, as the saying goes.
Earlier Georgia proposed itself as a transit country for gas transportation along the alternative European gas pipeline. Nobody seemed to have objections - until Europe's inquiring minds launched feasibility study of their project. Then it turned out there is no place for Georgia on the gas map. Apparently, Sakartvelo's gas transport infrastructure is even more decrepit than the long-suffering gas transport system of Ukraine. That is why it was decided to look for new transit candidates.
It is appropriate to remember exclusion of North-South gas-main pipeline out of the list of Georgia's strategic facilities. Giving the go-ahead with its stars and stripes Washington allowed selling it to stop torturing consumers. At that time Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Russian Federation were among promising buyers. As long as the pipe remains Georgian property, theoretically Georgia is holding a lever for maintaining balance in energy supply system in its unreliable hands.
Passing the relay baton to Gazprom or some Armenian company the Georgian government risks weakening its own positions. Any suggested option leaves Georgia out of play. At the same time Armenia is an appealing partner both to Russia and New Europe that stands in opposition to Russia fearing Gazprom's gas monopoly aimed at bringing consumers to their knees.