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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:21, January 22, 2007
Putin says Russia ready for energy dialogue with EU
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President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday Russia is ready for a constructive dialogue with the European Union (EU) over energy supplies that is based on mutual respect for interests.

"We are open to constructive work in the framework of the energy dialogue with the EU" and expect partners to stick to the principles of equality and mutual respect for interests, Putin told a news conference after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

"There should be no doubts that Russia was and will remain in the future a reliable fuel supplier," Putin was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

Relations between the EU and Russia have soured as Russia abruptly cut off delivery of its energy resources to neighbors over disputes.

Earlier this month, Russia briefly turned off a pipeline that delivers oil to Europe amid a dispute with Belarus, which serves as a transit point for Russian oil exports. The oil disruption affected Poland, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia and raised concerns in the EU.

Merkel, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, earlier called the shutting off of the Druzhba pipeline "unacceptable."

Russia provides about a quarter of the oil and gas consumed in the EU. The 27-nation bloc has been keen to formulate new principles of energy cooperation with Russia but failed so far to persuade Moscow to commit to the Energy Charter, which would require it to open its export pipeline network and other energy assets to foreign investors.

"We will be building relations with all partners -- transit nations and consumers of hydrocarbons -- on an equal, understandable and transparent basis," Putin said.

He also pledged to reduce Russia's dependence on transit countries in fuel deliveries by building its own pipeline networks.

"Given changes in the geopolitical situation, we will be most actively developing our own transport network to have a chance to directly deliver our raw material to key consumers," he said.

Russia will speed up the construction of pipeline networks to the Pacific coast and expand capabilities of transporting hydrocarbons in the north, he said.

Source: Xinhua

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