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June 22, 2006 -- The United States has welcomed an agreement allowing Kazakhstan to pump its oil through a U.S.-backed pipeline running from Azerbaijan to Turkey.
A statement by the State Department said the deal, reached last week between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, "underscores the strategic importance of the pipeline and the East-West linkages it provides for the broad Caspian and Caucasus region."
Under the deal Kazakhstan will ship oil through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which opened in May 2005 and allows the West to tap oil from the rich Caspian Sea fields.
The statement said the United States wishes "Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan well in their next round of negotiations that will protect the interests of governments and project investors alike, paving the way for commercial partnerships and prospective international financing."