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Putin calls on Bulgaria to decide on energy projects

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has called on Bulgaria to make up its mind as soon as possible on joint energy projects with Russia.

SOPOT (Poland), September 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has called on Bulgaria to make up its mind as soon as possible on joint energy projects with Russia.

Russia and Bulgaria have been discussing the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline and the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

The South Stream project is designed to annually pump 31 billion cubic meters of Central Asian and Russian gas to the Balkans and onto other European countries via the Black Sea, with the pipeline's capacity expected to be eventually increased to 63 billion cubic meters.

Burgas-Alexandroupolis is a pipeline project between Russia, Greece and Bulgaria to pump Russian and Caspian oil from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas to the Greek Aegean port of Alexandroupolis.

"If for some reasons your government realizes that a certain project is not in Bulgaria's interest, I am convinced there will be no problems in our relations. We will discuss the project that will go ahead," Putin told his Bulgarian counterpart, Boyko Borisov.

"The only thing we ask is for you to make up your mind as soon as possible," he said, citing the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline, whose construction has been under discussion for the past seven years.

"We have been discussing Burgas-Alexandroupolis for many years, but the talk here is just about 280 kilometers," he said, adding that Russia had built 1,500 km of pipeline from East Siberia to China in just two years.

"Just tell us 'no' and that's all. The same refers to other projects," he said.

On Tuesday, Borisov said Bulgaria saw no problems with the South Stream pipeline, and regarding the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline, he said two local referendums would be held on the environmental security of coastal areas.

Borisov earlier said the new Bulgarian government, formed after recent elections, needed time to study joint energy projects with Russia.

Slovenian Prime Minister Borut Pahor, in his turn, told his Russian counterpart that his country hoped to receive a 50% share in a joint company that would manage the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline in Slovenia.

He added that the two countries were likely to solve all the remaining issues and to sign agreements on the project in the near future.

 

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