Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 206

The Monitor has received a copy of a protocol of intentions signed on October 13 in Grozny. The signatories on the document are Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov; the well-known British businessman and public figure, Lord McAlpine; the executive director of Peregrin Investment Holdings, Francis Pike; the chief executive of the London consulting firm Robertson and Associates, Patrick Robertson; and the president of the closed corporation "Caucasus Common Market" (Ichkeria), Khozh-Akhmed Nukhaev. The sides agreed to look into the possibility of creating a Trans-Caucasus Energy Company (TCEC); this is to take the form of an international consortium with the participation of oil and gas enterprises, international banks, and other financial institutions. The Chechen government, for its part, undertook to consider turning the Chechen sector of the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline over to the TCEC for a long-term lease or a "build-operate-transfer" contract.

The protocol is the logical continuation of the project proposed by Nukhaev at an international forum in Switzerland on July 27. Now a businessman, Nukhaev served as First Deputy Premier during Zelimkhan Yandarbiev’s presidency. His proposal envisions the creation of a Caucasus Common Market along the lines of the former European Community, which Chechnya would join as an independent state. "We proceed from the assumption that Chechnya is already de facto an independent state and that, with the creation of the Caucasus Common Market, Chechnya will sooner or later achieve legal recognition by the international community," Nukhaev’s close associate, Mansur Jachimczyk, a Pole who has taken Chechen citizenship, told the Monitor. "We have found mutual understanding on this issue from the leaders of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan."

The inaugural meeting of the Caucasus Investment Fund, whose co-founders include Nukhaev, McAlpine, and Pike, is to be held in London on November 11. Its aim is to raise $3 billion for investment projects in the Caucasus region. Nukhaev is also said to be planning to meet in London with former British prime minister Baroness Thatcher, former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger, and a group of about 20 leading financiers.

First Stage of Armed Forces Reorganization Completed.