Lithuanian president to raise concerns over gas pipeline under the Baltic

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VILNIUS, October 24 (RIA Novosti, Vladimir Vodo) - The Lithuanian president intends to voice his concerns on a visit to Germany about the Russian-German project to build a pipeline in the Baltics to enable direct natural gas deliveries from Russia to Germany and other western European consumers.

On October 25-27, President Valdas Adamkus will meet with German President Horst Koehler, new Bundestag Chairman Norbert Lammert, outgoing Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and Chancellor-elect Angela Merkel to discuss bilateral relations, regional cooperation, and the EU's "eastern" policy.

Speaking on the TV channel LNK October 21, Adamkus said he would highlight Russia and Germany's plans to lay a pipeline on the floor of the Baltic Sea to avoid gas transits via Lithuania and Poland.

"Although the project exists on paper already, it has not started to be implemented yet, and we can raise the issue once again," he said.

He said it was "shameful to not take into consideration a [European] family member's interests, ignore them, and strike a profitable agreement with Russia almost in secret".

Gazprom, Russia's gas monopoly, and the German companies E.On Energie AG and BASF signed an agreement on the North European Gas Pipeline, to be commissioned in 2010, on September 8.

The Baltic countries and Poland object to the project, citing environmental concerns, and saying it would deal a heavy blow to their economic interests. They also accuse Russia of using its role on the global energy market to influence decision-making in Europe.

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