MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. Environmental safety should be a top priority during the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, which Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan would like to lay between their shores with the EU and US support, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Tuesday.
The opinion of all the Caspian Sea littoral states on this project should be taken into account, the Russian diplomat said.
"The problem of building trunk pipelines in the Caspian Sea, which is a unique water reservoir in all regards, should be primarily seen through the prism of the environment and only after that from the economic point of view," the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
"As for the project’s economic efficiency and recoupment, let these aspects be judged by those who plan to invest in it. However, the environmental aspect of this issue primarily concerns the Caspian littoral states without any exception. In this regard, all the five Caspian states have the voting right," the Russian diplomat said.
"The Caspian sea-lake is extremely sensitive to the smallest changes in the environment, which may be prompted, in particular, by the laying of Trans-Caspian pipes, the functioning of pipelines or, God forbid, accidents in this system. We’re convinced that Caspian environmental safety should be an unconditional priority," Lukashevich said.
"Unilateral actions for the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline construction would undermine trust among Caspian states," the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
"It is not ruled out that this is what the project’s lobbyists from among countries outside the Caspian region are seeking, offering themselves to Caspian Sea littoral states as ‘strategic partners’ and promising the pipeline’s advocates all possible political dividends," the Russian diplomat said.
At their summit in Astrakhan last year, the leaders of the five Caspian states publicly emphasized that "only the littoral states have the right to take decisions on the most important issues of the Caspian Sea and confirmed their joint responsibility for its future," the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
‘We believe that the pipeline issue is also undoubtedly referred to this agenda," the Russian diplomat said.