Moldova to Negotiate Gas Supply Contract with Azerbaijan

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Azerbaijan is negotiating with the Republic of Moldova, Hungary and Albania on oil and gas supplies. Recently, especially after the start of the war in Ukraine, Azerbaijan has become one of the main countries through which Russian energy resources are substituted on the European market. Baku supplies oil and gas to Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Italy. In 2022, the volume of gas supplies from Azerbaijan to the European Union reached 12 billion cubic meters, and by 2027 Baku intends to double this figure. According to the UNDP information dated April 28, 2023, over the past 2 years, Moldova, after Ukraine, has suffered the most from the energy crisis. President Maia Sandu argues that partnership with the Azerbaijanis is extremely important in a situation where the Republic of Moldova wants to achieve energy independence. “We hope for support and cooperation with Azerbaijan,” Maia Sandu said. The diversification of energy resources and the possibility of Azerbaijan to replace Russia in the European energy market will be discussed at the European Political Community (EPC) Summit, to be held on June 1 in Bulboaca. 47 EU heads of state and leaders are expected to attend the historic event. At the summit, in addition to the energy security of Europe, global issues related to the war in Ukraine will be discussed. “The summit in Chisinau provides a special status of the EU’s outpost in the Caucasus for Azerbaijan, which, thus, becomes the largest partner of the EU, replacing Russia in the European energy market,” the quoted source notes. At the same time, Reuters reports that a peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia is expected to be signed in Chisinau. Wall Street Journal writes that despite attempts by Moscow and Tehran to disrupt the negotiation process, Baku, with the active participation of Brussels and Washington, is making efforts to normalize relations with its neighbor and open regional transport routes. First of all, this refers to the Zangezur Corridor project. With its opening, the European Union will receive a direct transport route to China bypassing Russia through Turkey, Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea and Central Asia.” Thanks to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan gas pipeline, since 2006 Azerbaijan has had an oil transportation route independent of the Kremlin. This infrastructure is crucial for Baku’s independent energy policy in the interests of the European Union. In February 2023, Forbes noted that Moscow and Tehran pose the main threat to the supply of Azerbaijani gas to Europe, given that Azerbaijan is located between two hot spots, Russia and Iran, which form a military and political alliance that opposes Europe and Ukraine, as political scientist, Head of Center for Analysis and Strategies of Ukraine Igor Tsyalenko says. “In 2021-2023, Azerbaijan has become one of the main alternative energy suppliers from Russia to the European Union,” Newsweek Romania states. The publication reports that Moscow, seeking to put pressure on Baku, will involve Armenian separatists in Karabakh (which even the Prime Minister of Armenia recognized as the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan). Iranians and Russians see the separatist enclave of Karabakh as an “emergency switch” for the supply of Azerbaijani energy to the EU, one of the leading Israeli think tanks, the Begin-Sadat Center, noted on May 18, 2023. “Putin uses the Karabakh Armenians as pawns, like the South Ossetians and Abkhazians in Georgia or the Russian communities in Ukraine…,” Wall Street Journal writes. One of the largest Ukrainian publications, Focus, stated that “both states oppose pro-Russian separatism: Ukraine in the Donbass and Crimea, Azerbaijan in Karabakh. Ukraine is a stronghold of Europe; Azerbaijan is one of the main suppliers of EU energy resources, compensating for the rejection of Russian gas.” “Obviously, Azerbaijan is an indispensable strategic partner of the European Union in the Caucasus. That is why its participation in the Chisinau European Political Community Summit is especially symbolic. It is all the more important that the possible conclusion of a peaceful Azerbaijani-Armenian agreement in Chisinau promises the European community new economic and geopolitical dividends,” political scientist, Head of Center for Analysis and Strategies of Ukraine Igor Chalenko explains.