RUSSIA - TURKEY

EU stance forces Russia to scrap S. Stream pipeline, says Putin

AFP / BULPHOTO / M3 COMMUNICATIONS GROUP | Workers weld pipes during the symbolic start of the construction of the Bulgarian section of the South Stream pipeline on October 31, 2013

Russia is scrapping the South Stream natural gas pipeline project and may cooperate with Turkey on building a gas hub for southern Europe, President Vladimir Putin said Monday.

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Putin spoke after talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He said Russia can’t implement the South Stream project because of the European Union’s opposition to it. The project would have involved running a pipeline under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and further on to southern Europe.

Putin said Moscow would boost gas supplies to Turkey and may cooperate with it in creating a hub for natural gas supplies on the border with Greece.

Putin arrived in Turkey accompanied by a large delegation, including 10 ministers, for discussions officials said would concentrate on trade, including a Turkish demand for a price reduction on natural gas purchases from Russia.

The two countries, who are major trading partners, have set an aim of increasing their two-way trade volume from $33 billion to $100 billion by 2020.

Russia provides the bulk of Turkey’s gas and is set to build Turkey’s first nuclear power plant. Turkish construction firms are active in Russia while millions of Russian tourists travel to Turkey each year.

(AP)

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