Islam Karimov, the president of Uzbekistan, just completed his first official visit to Kazakhstan since September 2006. In a joint media appearance following talks with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Karimov noted that the two countries are the most influential states in Central Asia. He correctly observed that, “Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan may play a crucial role in solution of a number of principal matters, connected with the stability in the Central Asian region and prospects of its sustainable development.” Unfortunately, Uzbek-Kazakh relations have been characterized more by conflict than cooperation. Although Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have signed approximately 100 bilateral agreements since […]

Russian Ambassador on Nabucco

To follow up on Judah’s post on Nabucco, the recent (rather amusing) comments of the Russian ambassador on the Nabucco project show that Russia is also trying to use the Iran threat to undermine U.S. and EU support for the project. Thanks to John Rosenthal for sending along this story from the EU Observer: EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – Moscow has questioned the viability of the EU-backed Nabucco energy corridor, a pipeline designed to lessen the bloc’s dependency on Russia. “I know few things about political geography. The only way to fill the Nabucco pipeline is to rely on Iranian gas,” […]

Turkmen Gas for EU

Via FP Passport, it looks like the EU got a promise from Turkmanistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov to deliver some gas. At 10 billion cubic meters, the deal is a start, even if it’s just a drop in the 500 bcm bucket of European demand. But there’s still the little question of how to get the gas to Europe. Nabucco, if it ever happens, won’t be operational for another five years. So the EU is looking at either building links to existing pipelines, or liquifying the gas and shipping it. Needless to say, Russia has remained stoic about the deal.