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The route of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (RFE/RL)
June 6, 2006 -- U.S. President George W. Bush has sent a letter to his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, saying he hopes Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan will agree on terms to ship Kazakh oil via the new Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline.
The letter was read out at an oil and gas conference in Baku today.
Kazakhstan's deputy natural resources minister, Ilya Zakimov, said Astana and Baku will sign a deal in the near future. But he did not specify how much Kazakhstan wants to export through the $4 billion pipeline, which carries oil to eastern markets via Georgia and Turkey.
In his letter, Bush also said the United States will continue to work to create a "prosperous, peaceful, and democratic" Azerbaijan.
In a separate letter to Aliyev released by the British Embassy in Baku, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he hopes Azerbaijan will forge closer ties with the European Union and NATO to build a "secure future" based on "democracy, the rule of law, and an open economy."