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EU, partner countries to hold southern energy corridor summit
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09:14, May 08, 2009

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The European Commission and the Czech Presidency of the EU will host a summit on Friday in Prague with partner countries on the development of the Southern Corridor for energy and transport.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek will meet with the leaders of partner countries from Central Asia, Southern Caucasus, Mashreq and Middle East.

Participants will discuss concrete ways for moving forward with the development of the Southern Corridor for energy and transport, in particular the supplies of natural gas to the EU along the Corridor route.

This is the first summit at which potential partners in the Southern Corridor meet at the highest level to discuss their energy transit.

A declaration will provide the first formal commitments by consumer, producer and transit states on the conditions necessary to make a success of the Corridor, according to a statement from the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU.

"After four years of intensive dialogue with our energy partners from Central Asia, Southern Caucasus, Mashreq and the Middle East, today we are moving ahead with concrete commitments to make the Southern Corridor, including the Trans-Caspian link a reality," said Barroso in the statement.

The participating partner countries are Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Representatives of Russia, the United States and Ukraine will participate as observers, while representatives of the international financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank and the World Bank will also present.

The objective of the summit is to provide strong political support and concrete commitments for the development of the Southern Corridor, including the Trans-Caspian interconnection.

This would include commitments by energy producer, transit and consumer countries along the Corridor and would facilitate the supplies of energy resources from the Caspian region and Middle East to the EU.

The EU has recently embarked on an ambitious plan to enhance its energy security after experiencing "gas crisis" in the past winter.

Within this strategy, the Southern Corridor plays an important role as a major energy infrastructure initiative contributing to diversification of energy sources and routes for EU supplies.


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