WIESBADEN (Germany), October 15 (RIA Novosti) - Visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin, currently involved in talks with German leader Angela Merkel, confirmed on Monday his country's plans to build the Nord Stream gas pipeline on time.
The two leaders met on Monday to discuss U.S. missile defense plans in Europe, Iran's nuclear program and the status of Kosovo, as well as a range of economic issues.
"We plan to implement according to plan the Nord Stream gas pipeline project," Putin told a news conference following the high-level Russian-German consultations. "Its implementation is in the interests of Russia and its European partners."
In turn, Merkel denied that Germany was intending to pull out of the Nord Stream project.
"The Nord Stream project enjoys political support," Merkel told the press, adding that Germany was looking to see the project bring economic results.
The ambitious trans-Baltic project to bring Russian natural gas to Europe is estimated at around $12 billion and is scheduled to be completed in 2012. The first of two parallel pipelines, approximately 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) long, each with a transport capacity of some 27.5 billion cubic meters per annum, is to become operational in 2010. In the second phase, capacity should double to about 55 billion cubic meters a year.
Russian energy giant Gazprom owns a 51% stake and Germany's BASF and E.ON. hold 24.5% each in the Nord Stream joint venture, the project operator.
The German leader also praised the "expanding" economic cooperation between Russia and Germany, saying that bilateral trade saw a "significant" increase of 35% last year.
Putin invited German investors to join priority Russian national projects in education, healthcare, agriculture and residential housing construction.
"We are getting close to the so-called 'construction boom,' and there are lots of opportunities for our German partners," the Russian president said, commenting on the Russian construction market, which should grow 25%-30% this year.
The ninth summit Russian-German consultations produced five documents, including two on cooperation in science.
The final resolution, to complete the deal between electricity monopoly Unified Energy System [UES] of Russia, OGK-4 and E.ON, was signed in the presence of the two leaders. As a result, German energy giant E.ON will now control 69.34% in OGK-4, a wholesale generating company, with the acquisition price standing at 4.1 billion euros.