01:30 GMT07 April 2020
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    US Department of State spokesperson said that US Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Bulgaria next week to discuss energy, security and trade issues.

    WASHINGTON, January 9 (Sputnik) – US Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Bulgaria next week to discuss energy, security and trade issues, US Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement on Friday.

    "Secretary Kerry will travel to Sofia, Bulgaria, to discuss security cooperation, energy diversification, and the bilateral trade and investment relationship," Psaki announced.

    In addition to discussing issues related to trade and security, Psaki said that Kerry would highlight "the importance of rule of law in helping Bulgaria to realize its full potential as a vibrant European democracy."

    Kerry's meeting in Bulgaria follows the stall of Russian South Stream gas pipeline project construction from being built in several European transit countries (ETC) including Bulgaria after the European Commission expressed concern that Russia's bilateral agreements with ETC violated the EU Third Energy Package.

    The South Stream gas pipeline project was intended to bring Russian natural gas to multiple EU countries through a new route under the Black Sea bypassing Ukraine.

    After cancellation of the South Stream gas pipeline construction, Bulgarian Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski said that his country had never "intended to stop the South Stream project."

    The South Stream project is expected to be replaced with an alternative pipeline going through Turkey with an annual capacity of 63 billion cubic meters. Some 14 billion cubic meters of gas will be supplied to Turkey, and the rest is to be pumped to a hub on the Turkish-Greece border for customers in southern Europe.


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