AMBO: Diverting the route of the pipeline!

By Emin Azemi- According to available analyses published by AMBO, the pipeline would be very safe ecologically and would not pose any danger to the environment

This article was published on December 30, 2004

A few days ago in Sofia a memorandum was signed and a framework was defined to set out the intention of the three countries (Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria) to implement the  strategic project AMBO (Albanian, Macedonian, and Bulgarian Oil Corporation).

Numerous official pronouncements say that the AMBO pipeline will pass through European Transport Corridor Eight (along with the motorway and the railway), following the Deve Bair-Kumanovo-Skopje-Tetovo-Gostivar-Kicevo-Struga-Qafe Thane route.

Even a feasibility study funded by a US government agency clearly states that the pipeline will pass through Corridor Eight. As is known, the determination of the route of the pipeline through our country is the exclusive right of the Macedonian government.

After a break in the period between 2000 and 2003, work on the AMBO project was resumed in 2003. At the proposal of the commission appointed by then Economy Minister Stevce Jakimovski, which was composed of representatives from several ministries, the Macedonian government decided that the AMBO pipeline should follow the following route: Deve Bair Bulgarian border-Kriva Palanka-Sveti Nikola-Veles-Krusevo-Botun (Albanian border).

The truth is that the aforementioned commission also presented the option of the AMBO pipeline passing through Corridor Eight, but that proposal was rejected for ecological reasons; that is, with the justification that it would endanger the source of the Rasce River, the fertile Pollog  fields and the Mavrovo National Park. This justification does not hold water because, according to available analyses published by AMBO, the pipeline would be very safe ecologically and would not pose any danger to the environment.

Accusing Albanians collectively of being a source of instability in the region is a dangerous excuse for diverting the route of the pipeline away from the Albanian-inhabited areas. Those who designed the route had in mind security considerations, thus conveying the diabolical message that there is instability wherever there are Albanians.

The AMBO pipeline precedent also risks affecting Corridor Eight. Those who have succeeded in diverting the pipeline from the route that went through Albanian-inhabited areas could do the same with the Corridor Eight route, even though this project is still not on the EU’s list of priority projects and the Macedonian government has stopped allocating funds for it. On the other hand, work continues on the construction and modernization of Corridor 10 (north-south corridor). Depriving the Albanian-inhabited areas of strategic economic projects conveys only one message: the Albanian people should be held hostage through dangerous labels and through disputing their civilizational values and imputing dubious pseudo-values.

Mr. Emin Azemi is a writer and publisher from Skopje- Macedonia

Note: This article was published on December 30, 2004

*AMBO project was expected to be operational by 2011. Anyhow construction has not started. (NOTE of CSSD on February 11, 2016)