Thursday, 3 February 2011
Caspian: TAPI gets Russian backing
Most observers interpret Russia's public support for TAPI as a political tactic to improve relations with Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. If so, this gambit has not been a resounding success; following a visit to Ashgabat in October, Russia's energy supremo Igor Sechin suggested to the Russian media that the Turkmen government has made an agreement for Russia to be involved in the project. His remarks prompted a swift rebuttal by the Turkmen foreign ministry, which denied there was any agreement “whatsoever” on TAPI and urged Russian officials to be “guided in the future by a sense of responsibility and reality”.
Tapi involves the construction of a 1,700km pipeline network, of which some 735km would cross Afghanistan, including the volatile regions around the city of Kandahar, and 800km across Pakistan. The Asian Development Bank has funded feasibility studies for the project, but is unlikely to offer more funds until security in Afghanistan and Pakistan improves.
For more news and expert analysis about the Caspian region, please see Caspian Focus.
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