HC Deb 19 November 2003 vol 413 c1047W
Mr. Edwards

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on bilateral relations with Azerbaijan. [139127]

Mr. Rammell

The UK has a good bilateral relationship with Azerbaijan. The most recent ministerial visit was by my right hon. Friend the then Minister for Energy in May this year, to attend the Caspian Oil and Gas Show in Baku. Ilham Aliev, now President, visited the UK in June when he called on the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mike O'Brien), and the then Secretary of State for International Development my noble Friend Baroness Amos.

In January 2003, we extended the mandate of Sir Brian Fall the UK Special Representative to cover the whole of the South Caucasus underlining the commitment of the Government to play an active part in the efforts of the international community to help resolve the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

UK investment in Azerbaijan totals $US 2 billion. The vast majority of this is BP's investment in the oil and gas sector, which has contributed much to the development of the oil and gas industry in Azerbaijan. BP is the largest foreign investor, operating four offshore oil and gas exploration and development contracts. BP is leading the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (ETC) pipeline project. The BTC pipeline will provide an export route for oil (and subsequently gas) from Azerbaijan's Caspian oil fields to Europe.

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