Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer arrived Thursday in Kazakhstan where he is expected to promote this Central Asian country's potential involvement in a pipeline project to Turkey.
Sezer and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev will hold talks focused on bilateral relations, regional security, economic cooperation and oil pipeline projects, a Kazakh presidential spokesman said.
In particular the two leaders are expected to discuss a 2.4 billion dollar pipeline project from Azerbaijan to Turkey, which hinges on crude from Kazakhstan's fields, said spokesman Yerlan Baizhanov.
"It is obvious that the pipeline will be built and Turkey and other participants are interested in seeing Kazakhstan join this project," said Baizhanov.
Kazakhstan has come under intense pressure from the United States, which heavily backs the link as a way of lessening the country's dependence on Russia and cutting out Iran, to give a commitment to the Baku-Ceyhan project.
Astana has said it supports the route but needs more details about the terms of its participation before it will take a final decision, said Baizhanov.
"I think for Kazakhstan to take a decision about participation in this project we need more detailed, concrete offers from the consortium about the cost of transit and so on," he added.
The Turkish president was on the last leg of a tour of four Central Asian states that has been dominated by regional security issues and cooperation in oil and gas projects.
After talks with Nazarbayev, Sezer was to lay a wreath at a monument to victims of political repressions and then visit the capital's Eurasian University. On Friday, Sezer is to take part in the 1,500 anniversary celebrations of the ancient Kazakh city of Turkestan before flying back to Turkey that day.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)