Ukraine ‘seeks part’ in TANAP
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (C), his Ukrainian counterpart Gryshchenko (L) and Secretary General of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Victor Tvircun issue a press conference in Istanbul. AA photoRussia has started construction of the South Stream gas pipeline in an effort to diversify its
supply routes to Europe by bypassing Ukraine, but Kyiv is also seeking to diversify its gas supplies by participating in projects providing alternatives to Russian gas.
Ukraine is willing and ready to participate in the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline Project (TANAP), which will carry Azerbaijani gas to Europe via Turkey, said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko.
“Ukraine intends to take part in the implementation of the Southern Energy Corridor project, through which Caspian gas is [set] to be supplied to Europe. With this in mind, we are negotiating new routes of gas supplies with Turkey,” Gryshchenko said in a recent written reply to the Hürriyet Daily News, adding that Ukraine was planning on achieving some arrangements in the near future.
Ukraine and Turkey in the energy sector is a vital element of enhancing the strategic partnership between the two states, said Gryshchenko, who was in Istanbul over the weekend to participate in the ministerial meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization.
Ukraine has a great interest in TANAP, he said. “This implies, in particular, the involvement of the leading Ukrainian companies that have extensive expertise in the construction, maintenance and operation of transport and energy infrastructure.”
Beneficial projects on many areas
Ukraine has already submitted an official application to the Shah Deniz Consortium where it was outlined that Turkish and Azeri partners can benefit from Ukraine’s transportation system, including gas storage facilities adjacent to the European Union, he said. Gryshchenko said Ukraine
was committed to ensuring the uninterrupted transit of Russian natural gas to Turkey via
Ukrainian territory in accordance with two long-term contracts which are in force until 2023 and 2025, respectively.
“No one should have any doubts about this,” he said. Russian-Ukrainian gas disputes in the past have interrupted the transit of Russian gas to Turkey.
Ukraine is seeking to diversify its cooperation in the energy field with Turkey, according to Gryshchenko. “We view that we could implement mutually
beneficial projects not only in pipeline construction, but also in the construction of underground gas storages, oil pipelines, as well as the joint exploration and production of hydrocarbons in the Black Sea shelf and in third countries,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gryshchenko said Ukraine provided the shortest, cheapest and most reliable
route for hydrocarbons’ transportation to EU countries. “Ukraine has a sophisticated gas-transportation network which is supported by [large] gas storages and infrastructure. This, in turn, [leads one to question] the economic viability of the construction of new, costly pipelines that bypass Ukraine.”
Work to continue on free trade agreement
The Ukrainian foreign minister said he believed economic relations between Kyiv and Ankara would develop dynamically. “We are looking forward to implementing a goal set by President [Viktor] Yanukovych and Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan to make the trade turnover reach a level of $20 billion by 2015,” he said.
Work on a free trade agreement is continuing, as four rounds of negotiations were held, including one special round of consultations on liberalizing the trade in agricultural goods.
“We have agreed on most provisions of the draft agreement. Now we need to reach a consensus on terms of access to the goods markets and solve the issues of export duties and export support,” he said. Ukraine is facing a significant loss of transit revenue resulting from the launch of the Nord Stream pipeline project, enabling Russia to ship its natural gas to Europe via the north.
As the loss of revenue is also expected to increase with the launch of the South Stream project to transport Russian gas under the Black Sea, Ukraine has stepped up its efforts to seek new markets for its exports. It reportedly wants to enter the Turkish agricultural market, but the desire is said to have been met by hesitation from Ankara.
“Our position is based on WTO principles and norms and implies that we must strive for a comprehensive abolition of duties on both industrial and agricultural goods and that transitional periods should be applied only on the most sensitive goods,” Gryshchenko said.
Ukraine doing its utmost for return of Crimean Tatars
ISTANBUL – HDN
Ukraine has spent some $160 million over the past 20 years in resettling people from Crimea previously deported on the basis of their ethnicity, according to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko.
The return of Crimean Tatars, who constitute the bulk of those deported by the Stalin regime from Crimea in 1944, is an issue of special importance for Turkey.
Ukraine has applied supreme efforts aimed at solving the social and economic problems of the Crimean Tatars, Gryshchenko said, adding that the first reading of the draft law of Ukraine, “On Restoration of the Rights of Persons Deported on an Ethnic Basis,” was completed last June and awaits a second reading in Parliament. The bill reconfirms the State’s guarantee to restore the rights of formerly deported persons and entrusts national and local authorities with this task
Meanwhile, an initiative by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to organize a conference on the subject remains a sensitive issue for Kiev. “We strongly believe that any international event should be result-oriented and deliver a concrete practical outcome. The results of a conference should be aimed at supporting the existing efforts of the government to address certain issues and not to replace government’s functions.”
“We would like to see a comprehensive and inclusive approach to resolving existing problems in the Crimea as a whole – be it the right to education in one’s mother tongue or the right to housing, etc. – in order to avoid singling out one ethnic group, which would lead to the wrong impression of preferential treatment based on ethnicity,” Gryshchenko said.