Lithuanian prime minister says gas pipeline matter between Russia and Germany

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HELSINKI, September 9 (RIA Novosti, Olga Andrianova) - The agreement on the construction of the North-European gas pipeline (NEG) is between Russia and Germany, Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas, who is currently in the Finnish capital, said Friday.

"Regardless of protests from Poland or Latvia, the two big countries, Russia and Germany, signed a bilateral agreement, which is to be taken into account," Brazauskas told a joint news conference with his Finnish counterpart Matti Vanhanen.

According to Brazauskas, Poland and Latvia would take advantage of the pipeline, given it runs through their areas. However, the issue is not vital for Lithuania, since the country has a gas pipeline network, along with agreements with Russia on gas supply.

Both ministers highlighted the importance of the energy projects in the Baltic countries that are aimed at extending pipeline networks and the energy infrastructure in general.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder adopted a joint statement on cooperation in the energy sector Thursday and attended the signing of an agreement on the NEG by top officials, representing the German concerns E.ON AG and BASF and Gazprom, Russia's gas monopoly.

The construction is scheduled to start in fall 2005 and be completed in 2010. The natural gas pipeline will link Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea. It will have a capacity of 55 billion cu m of gas annually and cost two billion euros.

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