Embassy Information

On the responses by Russian Ambassador Vladimir Ivanovsky to the Media Questions, 25 November 2008

Caucasus platform members to meet

ANKARA (Hurriyet Daily News, 25/11/2008) - Five members of the Turkey-led Caucasus platform are expected to meet by the end of this year for fully-fledged discussions, said Russia's ambassador to Turkey yesterday. "The proposals submitted by the Turkish side concerning the platform are appropriate for us and we will continue to work together," Ambassador Vladimir Ivanovsky told reporters on the sidelines of a reception at the Russian Embassy.

"We expect positive signals from other countries as well and I hope the representatives of five countries will begin collective discussions by the end of this year," he added.

Turkey came up with the idea to set to up a Caucasus Solidarity and Cooperation Platform in the wake of the Georgia-Russia war last summer. The regional mechanism is planned to be made up of Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia and Georgia. Tbilisi has so far opposed sitting at the same table as Moscow before the withdrawal of Russian troops from its soil, but diplomatic sources earlier said the Georgians are now looking warm on the idea.

Last Friday, the Russian deputy foreign minister, Vladimir Titov, held consultations with the deputy undersecretary of the Turkish foreign ministry, Ambassador Ьnal Зevikцz, concerning the Caucasus platform, the ambassador said.

Ivanovsky welcomed the process of rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia as "very constructive" and "positive." He expressed the hope that positive consequences would emerge from the meeting in Istanbul between Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian.

The Russian ambassador also signaled a reduction in natural gas prices in the coming months.

"The gas prices depend on oil prices, to a large extent. As oil prices are tending to drop these days, gas prices for European consumers could reduce," he said. "But I assume that will not happen very fast. Gas prices could gradually start to drop for European consumers in the coming one to two months, at least according to data we have. This is also valid for Turkey."