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    SAAKASHVILI SUPPORTS ALTERNATE PIPELINE TO BTD PIPELINE

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    MOSCOW, February 10, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - President Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia supports building a oil pipeline from Novorossisk through Georgia that runs parallel to the Baku-Tablisi-Ceyhan pipeline.

    Addressing the faculty and students of MGIMO, Mr. Saakashvili said that according to his forecasts, after introduction Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (BTD), Turkey will close the straits to the transportation of other oil - in particular Russian. Therefore, he supports the realization of transporting Russian oil from Novorossisk to Georgia. Part this pipeline is planned to run parallel to a section of the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline.

    "We greet the building of a oil pipeline from Novorossisk to Georgia that runs parallel to the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline," he said.

    Mikhail Saakashvili noted that the BTD pipeline does not have a significant economic value for Georgia. On average, Georgia will make $10-15 million per year from the pipeline.

    When speaking about promising Russian-Georgian economic projects, Mikhail Saakashvili named a project to export Russian electricity into Turkey, which is only possible through Georgia. He noted that a joint operation of the infrastructure is possible for this project.

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