ATHENS, November 24. /TASS/. Most of Russia’s partners understand that the South Stream project is a guarantee of stable gas supplies in any situation, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov told journalists on Monday.
He said the South Stream-related issued had not been raised at today’s consultations with Greek diplomats, since Greece was not a participant in this project. However Greece’s Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change Ioannis Maniatis, addressing the annual meeting of the European Business Congress in Athens in May 2014, said his country was interested in the construction of a South Stream branch via its territory.
Meshkov said that Russia was ready to continue dialogue on the South Stream with the European Union. “Now, the European Commission is being rotated,” he noted. “It has just begun /to work/, that is why our dialogue on the South Stream is not maintained at the moment. Russia is ready to resume it.”
The Russian diplomat noted that serious pressure was being exerted on each participating country to force it out of the project. “It is not only Serbia, but other countries as well,” he said. “But most of our partners understand that the South Stream is their guarantee of gas supplies in any situation. So, I hope we will be able to finally reach solutions that would get this project going. It is one of the key elements of energy security in Europe.”
When asked to comment whether this pressure on Serbia was running counter to the principles of non-interference into domestic affairs, Meshkov admitted that Belgrade had to withstand unprecedented pressure. “But our Serbian colleagues, and Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has said it more than once, have vowed not to join anti-Russian sanctions in any event. He reiterated this position once more during a recent visit to Serbia by Russian President Vladimir Putin,” he said.
While in Athens, the Russian deputy foreign minister met with Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, his deputy Dimitris Kurkulas, and Greek Foreign Ministry Secretary General Anastasios Mitsialis as part of political consultations between the two countries’ foreign ministries.