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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 28, 2000


I am very pleased that today delegations from Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey reached agreement on the legal framework for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. Last November in Istanbul, I witnessed the signing of initial documents for this framework. Today's achievement completes this work and brings the pipeline project a critical step closer to fruition.

By this action, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey have shown once again their commitment to building regional cooperation, peaceful relations, and better lives for all their people. I congratulate Presidents Aliyev, Shevardnadze, and Demirel, along with all the negotiating teams, for their leadership in moving this project forward.

I look forward to the next phase of this effort, when companies from the United States, Western Europe, and Russia will work with those of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Turkey to transform legal frameworks into commercial reality.

The United States is committed to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline as a key part of our overall approach to Caspian energy development. We want to ensure access to world markets for the countries of the region, while helping diversify sources of energy supply for consumers in the United States and around the globe.