Russia Calls On EU To Halt Talks on Nabucco Pipeline

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin monitors the inauguration of Nabucco rival Nord Stream pipeline last week (Getty Images)

MOSCOW (Reuters)—Moscow said the European Union should halt talks on a proposed Caspian Sea pipeline to carry natural gas to Europe, characterising the bloc’s involvement in the project that would by-pass Russia as “meddling” that could add to tensions in the region.

The 27-member bloc agreed on Monday to kick off negotiations to secure a pipeline deal with Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan – two of the five states bordering the Caspian Sea — to allow gas from the region, which has the world’s fourth-largest reserves, to flow directly to Europe.

An agreement would boost the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline project — to build a pipeline between Turkey and Austria — aimed at reducing the bloc’s dependence on Russia for a quarter of its natural gas supplies. Russian gas deliveries to Europe have been interrupted as a result of chronic disputes with transit state Ukraine.

“Outside attempts to meddle in affairs in the Caspian… could very seriously complicate the situation in this region (and) negatively affect the ongoing five-party negotiations on the Caspian Sea’s legal status,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on its website.

The ministry statement called on the European Union’s executive “to respect the position of Russia and the other member state of the Caspian Five and refrain from action.”

Russia and the other Caspian Sea littoral states — Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan — have been locked in sensitive talks over dividing claims to the sea’s huge hydrocarbon reserves currently regulated by Soviet-era agreements.

Nabucco is among several pipelines schemes, including Russia’s South Stream project, competing to build a trans-Caspian link with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

Russia has long-term agreements to buy gas from Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, former Soviet Union republics, which it views as part of its traditional sphere of influence.

Analysts say the Caspian Sea states only produce enough gas to fuel one of the costly new trans-Caspian pipeline projects.

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11 Comments

  1. Nazim said:

    Russia’s response is quite expected. Europe must have foreseen it. Of course, Russia would not want Europe to try to break free from Russian monopoly of gas supplies to Europe. Heeding Russia’s warning would amount basically saying: “Yes, please continue planning to use gas as leverage on us.” Energy security is paramount to any country. Europe has finally recognized Azerbaijan’s importance in that regard. And kudos to Azerbaijan for getting their interest. Now Russia can do nothing to Baku. Because at stake would be European energy security. On the other hand, unlike any other country of former USSR, Armenia remains joined-at-hip with Russian. Allying yourself with a losing horse is not a bright idea. Russia is just such a loser. Its only source of major income is its natural resources, like any other developing country. Russia is no match for the West. Don’t believe me? See the Cold War result.

    • gary S. said:

      Allying Armenia with Turkey is a WORST idea. A country that HONORS leaders who put to death millions of its innocent Christian children & women to death. Even religious fanatical Iran has treated its Christians better.

  2. John Markarian said:

    Many of Baku’s oil fields were owned and developed by Calouste Gulbenkian. The Azeri and Soviet governments illegally seized his property .His great grandson should file a lawsuit to against Azerbaijan and European companies such as British Petroleum, the Italian ENI and the French Total Oil companies that are co-developing the oil and gas fields in Azerbaijan. All Armenians should e-mail the Gulbenkian Foundation and pressure them to file this lawsuit

  3. Hrant K. said:

    FYI Nazim, the cold war is in the fridge, in case you didn’t realize! The georgification of Azerbaijan

    is next! After “Communizm” has fallen, your folks are next on line! So don’t mess with the rising Bear!!

  4. John Markarian said:

    Calouste Gulbenkian not only founded but owned mosf of the Azeri oil fields that the Azeris and Communists stole from him. The family of Calouste Gulbenkian should sue the Azeri government and the European oil companies that are working in Azerbajan. An autobiography of Calouse Gulbenkian published by the Gulbenkian Foundation tells the whole history.

  5. John Markarian said:

    I read an article by Zhores Medvedev Men Russia’sOil ” temporary or terminal crisis in which he claims that there is oil in the valley of the Terter River in Nagorno Karabagh. The Azeris may know that oil deposits exist there and this may be the major drive for their wanting to steal back Nagorno-Karabagh. The Armenian government should start recruiting some professional petrologists to seriously evaluate this.

  6. Peter Megerdumiam said:

    Ideally the Russians should provide Armenia with the best Russian equipment so that they can invade portions of Azerbajan to cut off the oil pipeline going to Europe.

  7. John Minassian said:

    The village of Maragha in the Mardakert region of the NKR has oil according to the Aisor newspaper in Armenia. The village of Maragha was the site of the Maragha massacre and Armenian parlimentarian Larisa Alaverdyan stated that the Maragha massacre was done to get remove the Armenians so that the Azeris could get the oil. Armenia and the NKR need to have strong defenses in the Mardakert region especially near the village of Maragha to protect Armenian oil interests.Mardakert is key to Armenia and the NKR’s economic growth.

  8. Albert Nercessian said:

    If the European Uniion were smart they would build a trans-Mediterranean pipeline from Libya , Algeria and Tunisia to Europe to supply them oil. Lot cheaper and lot more secure. It is obvious that the European Union has some very incompetant leadership in Spain , Sweden and Italy who support Turkish entry into the EU. If they are that unwise to let Turkey in, then they deserve to get what is coming to them, an Islamofacist invasion of Europe, the exact plan the Turks have had for a 800 years but were unable to accomplish on their own.

  9. Albert Nercessian said:

    I like the Italians but I don’t know why they allowed Berlesconi to serve for such a long time instead of supporting a true gentlemen and intellectual like Mr. Prodi who was a very high class man. Berlesconi was involved in one scandal after another and he even has ties to the Mafia and Italian facists involved in all types of criminal activities.

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