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Serbia ready to join Moscow-led Turkish Stream gas project — foreign minister

Now that Russia abandoned its South Stream gas pipeline project, Serbia "is interested in all other options," the Serbian foreign minister said

BELGRADE, May 15. /TASS/. Serbia is interested in participating in Russia’s Turkish Stream gas pipeline project intended to pump Russian natural gas to Europe via Turkey, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Friday.

"At present, we can express our readiness for participation in this project because we need reliable gas supplies," Dacic said.

Now that Russia abandoned its South Stream gas pipeline project, Serbia "is interested in all other options," the Serbian foreign minister said.

"We want to participate in this [Turkish Stream] project," Dacic said, adding EU countries should "grasp the essence of the problem from the very start."

"We wouldn’t like to find ourselves in a situation in several years when we’ll have to look for those who are to blame for the fact that winter has come and there are no more gas supplies via Ukraine," he said.

"We are unnerved by the situation when everything can be done with regard to the Nord Stream gas pipe [that runs across the Baltic Sea for Russia’s direct gas supplies to Germany and North Europe bypassing transit states] and at the same time everything is prohibited with regard to the gas project from the south, although this is the same gas from Russia," the Serbian foreign minister said.

"We have the same rights as residents of the northern part of Europe," he said.

EU must support Turkish Stream for the sake of Europe’s energy security

The European Union should support the implementation of the Turkish Stream project, which will allow to strengthen Europe’s energy security, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday following talks with his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic.

"If the European Union’s approaches are based on the critical assessment of the situation, on its interest in ensuring the European energy security, then Brussels must support these talks [on the Turkish Stream] and make its contribution to turning this idea into reality," Russia’s top diplomat said.

"We are not imposing anything on anyone," Lavrov said. "We suggest acting on the basis of the opportunities that we have and on the basis of the agreements, which we have reached with Turkey. We are aware of the interest shown by Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary and other countries in the region."

According to Lavrov, "the most important thing now is to consider the practical aspects in terms of logistics, in terms of financing." "These issues are being addressed by representatives of the relevant countries that are in charge of the energy, specifically, gas cooperation," Russia’s top diplomat said.

Gazprom launches Turkish Stream gas pipeline construction

Gazprom switched on May 8 to the stage of building the offshore section of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline intended to bring Russian natural gas to Europe via Turkey, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said.

In an interview with Rossiya 24 TV Channel, Miller said Gazprom had switched to the stage of preparing and mobilizing resources for the Turkish Stream gas pipeline’s sea stretch.

"That is why, today’s date can be considered as the commencement date for the construction of the gas pipeline’s sea section," the Gazprom head said.

The Turkish Stream will serve as an alternative to the South Stream gas pipeline project abandoned by Russia in December 2014.

The larger part of the Turkish Stream pipeline will run across the Black Sea and coincide with the South Stream route approved earlier.

Gazprom and Turkey’s Botas signed a memorandum of understanding on December 1, 2014 on building the pipeline’s offshore section across the Black Sea.

The Turkish Stream will have an annual capacity of 63 billion cubic meters, of which 47 billion cubic meters will be delivered to a new gas hub on the Turkish-Greek border.

Gazprom Russkaya company will be in charge of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline construction.