Haqqani: Is It Worth for Azerbaijan to Take a Risk over Bulgaria?
Gas flow from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria has never been more feasible economically, but is hardly plausible from a political perspective, an Azeri think-tank believes.
These comments are part of an article posted on the website Haqqani.az, run by a prominent human rights organization.
Haqqin.az starts by reminding it "has already told of the history of visits to Baku by East European countries' leaders, including [leaders] from Bulgaria," dating back to the 1990s and, "as [readers] can see, ongoing nowadays."
All world leaders and heads of biggest oil companies flocked to Azerbaidjan then to demand a piece of the pie in 1994 and Bulgaria was among them - with the slight difference that the country ("surely not a rich one") needed to overcome the "not-very-happy prospect" of "full dependence on Russian oil", the outlet adds.
Later, when gas projects followed, Sofia put its hopes there as well, seeking to break away from Gazprom's monopoly.
"It should be noted that the purely economic chances [for Azerbaijani deliveries to Bulgaria] are as high as ever," the article reads.
The authors nevertheless stress that it is Russia that poses the major obstacle "of political origin".
"In theory, if Baku and Sofia wish to solve this problem, there is nothing to stop them. But Moscow is already applying too strong levers in both the former and the latter capital. Bulgaria could nowadays broach the subject - it will be all the same [to Sofia], with a new Parliament to be elected and an interim government to give its way to a news one."
In this situation, Haqqani says, there is little risk that anyone in particular could be in danger.
With Azerbaijan, however, the situation is quite different, since it the government wouldn't afford such a risk given a neighbor like Russia, which "proved with Ukraine, for example, that it is ready to use any measure" to pursue its political and economic ambitions, including those involving gas exports.
Even for Bulgaria, to defy Moscow "could hardly be called a right decision", the text concludes.
The opinion piece is a reaction to a statement Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev made for the Anadolu news agency while on a visit to Turkey last week.
Plevneliev then called the Trans-Anatolian (TANAP) and the Trans-Adriatic (TAP) pipeline projects as ventures of "strategic importance" for all European countries. Plevneliev also said a meeting of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Greece's leaders is due on September 23-24 on which the fate of deliveries via Azerbaijan is to top the agenda.
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