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March 20, 2007 -- Azerbaijan says it is seeking political support from the United States to help it build new natural-gas export pipelines to Europe.
Officials in Baku say Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are set to sign a memorandum of understanding on energy cooperation on March 22 in Washington.
The Azerbaijani news media quoted U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza as saying the memorandum will express support for new-generation pipelines to carry gas from the Caspian Sea to European markets.
Bryza said in order for Azerbaijan to become a major alternative source of gas supplies to Europe, the pipelines that would connect it with Greece and Italy should be commissioned soon.
U.S. firms, including ExxonMobil and Chevron, have already invested billions of dollars in oil and gas fields in Azerbaijan and in Kazakhstan.