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Russia surprised by discriminatory stance against South Stream

December 13, 2013, 6:52 UTC+3 ATHENS
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ATHENS, December 13, 6:46 /ITAR-TASS/. The European Commission must have an equal approach to the South Stream and Trans Adriatic Pipeline projects, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov told Russian reporters on Thursday, saying the issue must not be politicized.

He said he had discussed with the Greek Foreign Ministry leadership EU’s Third Energy Package, including as concerns Russia’s cooperation with Greece and other countries of the European Union. “We are against the constant politicizing of that issue,” the top diplomat said, noting that “it must be solved through economic negotiations, expert talks”. In reply to the query whether the Third Energy Package was creating obstacles for the construction of South Stream as compared with Trans Adriatic Pipeline, he said “that is what we would want from the European Commission - an equal approach to all such projects”.

“And this obvious discrimination against the South Stream project at least raises eyebrows, as necessary conditions for an efficient construction and functioning are created for other similar trans-border projects,” he said. “It is not a matter of a competition between some different projects, it is just that such projects as South Stream must not be knowingly discriminated,” Meshkov said.

According to the deputy foreign minister, “South Stream meets first of all the interests of European states, countries in southern Europe, the interests of diversification of the routes of energy resources to the European market,” he added. “It is awaited in many European countries, first of all those in southern Europe, who signed intergovernmental agreements with the Russian side, which under international law prevail over domestic legislation, which is exactly the legislation of the European Union,” he said. “And we proceed from the fact that our European partners will strictly abide by the agreements reached,” Meshkov added.

Focusing on a possible participation of Russia’s Gazprom gas giant in a new tender for privatization of the Greek DEPA gas company, he said the Foreign Ministry as a government entity “does not interfere in the economic activity of Gazprom”.

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