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MOSCOW, October 15. /TASS/. Russia and Serbia may discuss implementation of the South Stream gas pipeline project recently suspended by an order of the EU authorities during President Vladimir Putin's visit to Belgrade on Thursday, presidential aide Yury Ushakov told reporters Wednesday.
“The way out of the situation is working jointly with the European Commission, with all the countries participating in the project. The commission is now changing its composition, and we do not know yet which position Brussels will follow. We are still actively explaining issues regarding the project as this subject is not closed, and we will promote it further,” he said.
Serbia suggested that this project cannot be fulfilled without Brussels’ consent, but said that it is ready to implement its part of the pipeline construction and takes great interest in the deal, Ushakov said.
During the president’s visit, the Russian side also plans to raise an issue on the necessity to revise a tax regime for local oil company NIS, controlled by Gazprom Neft, Ushakov said. In 2013, the Serbian government toughened the tax regime for the company and Russia believes that this move violated an intergovernmental agreement signed in 2008, he said.
“The Serbian authorities have promised to settle the situation, but the promise has not been fulfilled yet. Moreover, at the end of this summer, Serbia started a case investigating circumstances of NIS’ privatization,” Ushakov said.
Russia and Serbia will also discuss cooperation in projects of nuclear power corporation Rosatom, largest lender Sberbank and in the railway sector, Ushakov said. The sides may also consider a provision of a Russian state loan to Serbia, he said.
On Friday, Putin will participate in the Asia-Europe Meeting in Milan, where the South Stream project might also be discussed, Ushakov said. At the meeting, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller and Energy Minister Alexander Novak may discuss Russian gas supplies to the EU with representatives of the European Commission, Ushakov also said.