Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 167

After months of negotiations, Russia and Chechnya yesterday reached agreement on the transport of "early" Caspian oil from Baku across Chechen territory to Russia’s Black Sea port at Novorossiisk. The agreement was signed in Moscow by Russian first deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov and the President of Chechnya’s YUNKO oil company, Khozh-Akhmed Yarikhanov. Also signed yesterday were agreements on the rebuilding of the Chechen section of the pipeline and on the security of the Russian workers who will carry out the repairs. The pipeline is to be guarded by a special detachment of 400 armed men provided by Chechnya.

Both sides told the media yesterday that they had got the better of the deal. The Russian press hailed the agreement as a victory for Nemtsov’s tough bargaining, while Yarikhanov told journalists that he was satisfied because the agreement makes no mention of the word "tariff." (Izvestia, Itar-Tass, September 9) The dispute over the size of the tariff Chechnya would charge had been the main sticking point between the two sides and had threatened to undermine Russia’s plans to transport Caspian oil to western markets. Yarikhanov said that yesterday’s agreement gets round the problem by introducing the idea of a lump-sum payment. He predicted that Russia and Chechnya will meet again at the beginning of next year to negotiate fresh terms.

Leader of Dagestan’s Chechens Warns of Ethnic War.