October 30, 2001
For Immediate Release
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian

CROWLEY COUNTERS AZERBAIJANI PRESSURE TO EXCLUDE ARMENIA FROM CASPIAN ENERGY PIPELINES

New York Congressman Seeks to Prevent U.S. Taxpayer Funding for Pipelines that Circumvent Armenia

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WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY) is set to ask his House colleagues tomorrow to support a bipartisan legislative initiative to prevent U.S. taxpayer funding of a proposed Baku-Ceyhan pipeline route that avoids Armenia, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The New York Congressman is prepared to offer an amendment on this subject to the Export-Import Bank reauthorization bill. This measure would effectively prohibit Ex-Im Bank from guaranteeing, insuring, or extending credit for the planning, development, construction, or maintenance of a Baku-Ceyhan pipeline that is routed around Armenia. The House Financial Services Committee will consider this legislation on Wednesday, October 31st.

“We appreciate Congressman Crowley’s continued leadership in blocking U.S. taxpayer subsidies for commercially questionable Caspian energy pipeline routes that would, at the insistence of Azerbaijan, exclude Armenia and undermine U.S. strategic interests in the Caucasus,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “Armenia is a key player in the region and an indispensable partner in any future successful undertaking in this regard. We urge the Financial Services Committee to support Congressman Crowley’s efforts and call upon the Administration to seek rational and lasting solutions in this strategic field. United States policy in this important arena should not be guided by short-sighted political pressures from Azerbaijan.”

Congressman Crowley’s initiative comes in response to repeated efforts in recent years by Azerbaijan to pressure governments, financial institutions, and energy firms involved in Caspian energy projects to reject more cost-effective pipeline routes through Armenia in favor of routes that exclude Armenia.

Earlier this year, Congressman Crowley joined with Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) and Frank Pallone, and Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY) in introducing legislation, H.Con.Res.162, expressing the growing Congressional opposition to the use of American tax dollars to fund Caspian energy projects that exclude Armenia. In addition to this bill the four legislators spearheaded a Congressional letter sharing their concerns with President Bush. These actions came in the wake of the release earlier this year of the recommendations of the National Energy Policy Development (NEPD) group, which announced its support for the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, but failed to identify Armenia as the most cost-effective, commercially viable, and strategically beneficial route.

In a June 14th statement on the House floor, Congressman Crowley had “urged the President to give additional thought to the proposed Baku-Ceyhan pipeline and to have the foresight to include Armenia in that project, both for the good of the region, and for the good of U.S. policy in the region.”

Ex-Im Bank provides guarantees of working capital loans for U.S. exporters, guarantees the repayment of loans or makes loans to foreign purchasers of U.S. goods and services. Ex-Im Bank also provides credit insurance that protects U.S. exporters against the risks of non-payment by foreign buyers for political or commercial reasons. For additional information about Ex-Im Bank, visit:
http://www.exim.gov/

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