European Union officials gathered Friday with a number of potential partners to explore possible energy supply alternatives and transportation routes via Russia.
After four years of dialogue with energy partners from Central Asia, Southern Caucasus, and the Middle East, the EU and its potential partners met at a high level for the first time to discuss concrete ways to transport energy resources from the Caspian region and Middle East to the EU.
European Commission President Jose Maunel Barroso said during the summit that the diversification of energy supplies was important as the EU has for years suffered from supply disruptions because of volatile energy prices, commercial disputes and pipeline accidents.
A southern energy corridor would offer the EU geographically new sources of energy and the potential for enhanced relations with countries from Southern Caucasus and Central Asia, Barroso said.
Barroso said that a joint declaration to be signed Friday by the EU and countries of the southern corridor will be a significant step.
The initiative would provide security of energy supply, transportation and demand through sustainable projects, he said.
On hand for the meeting were officials from Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Representatives of the European Investment Bank, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank also attended.
Representatives of Russia, the United States and Ukraine were present as observers.