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By Bülent Gökay (eds.)

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Azerbaijan was to become the first former Soviet state to have the Union troops removed from its territory one year ahead of their scheduled departure. A number of volunteers with a significant volume of Russian weapons remained in Ganja, where they joined a militia group, under the command of the owner of a local factory, Surat Husseinov. Refusing to subordinate his forces to the central command in Baku, and after a military defeat in the war front in Karabakh that was attributed to him personally, Husseinov marched with his troops towards Baku.

Promising contacts with Armenia took place within the framework of the CSCE `Minsk Group'. Nine countries, including the US, Russia, the UK, Turkey, as well as Germany and other European states, demonstrated their intention to help resolve the dispute. Then Elchibey was invited by the British Prime Minister, John Major, to discuss the oil agreement and other bilateral issues in London, on 30 Geopolitics of Caspian Oil 41 June 1993. This was the first official visit of an Azeri politician to a major Western power, a first break in the international isolation imposed on Azerbaijan by the West because of the war and a definite indication of an increasing diplomatic, political and economic allegiance.

After 1991, the agreement was re-evaluated. Smaller, flexible competitors, like British Ramco and Turkish Petroleum (TPAO), had the opportunity also to bid for the project. Quite soon, other major companies opted to join the Caspian development, following the example set by BP in Azerbaijan and the American Chevron in Kazakhstan. They represented a wide range of nationalities and geo-economic interests: from the US to the Russian Federation, from Europe to Japan, and from Saudi Arabia to Turkey.

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