Turkey and Georgia discuss oil pipeline, regional security
(AFP, ANKARA) - The foreign ministers of Turkey and Georgia held talks Tuesday on a major oil pipeline project and security in the volatile Caucasus, Anatolia news agency reported.
"We discussed ways of securing the safety of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline and decided to take up the issue with all relevant countries," Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said in the Black Sea city of Trabzon, where he met his Georgian counterpart Irakli Menagarishvili.
The Washington-backed pipeline is designed to carry Caspian oil from the Azerbaijani capital Baku via Georgia to Turkey's Mediterrenean port of Ceyhan and western markets.
It is due for completion in 2004 and is expected to carry more than 350 million barrels of oil a year.
Cem said they also discussed Ankara's proposal for a Caucasian stability pact for the region, which has been plagued by ethnic conflicts since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
"We agreed that we should further develop this pact and start working on its details," Cem said.
He praised the state of relations between Turkey and its eastern neighbor, dubbing Georgia a "key country" in the region.
Over the last three years Turkey has donated some $13 million for Georgia's defense needs.
On Wednesday, Menagarishvili was to travel to Istanbul to wrap up his three-day visit to Turkey.
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)