Bulgaria and Ukraine exchange gas for laying pipelines

Jul 31, 2000 02:00 AM

Ukraine will export some 578 mm cm of natural gas to Bulgaria in exchange for Bulgaria's part in laying pipelines in the former Soviet Union in the 1970s, the prime ministers of both countries agreed. Bulgaria's Ivan Kostov and Ukraine's Viktor Yushchenko announced after their talks that supplies will amount to 200 mm cm of gas this year. Next year, they will total 378 mm cm, which forms the last tranche of the 1,260 mm cm initially agreed upon.
Bulgaria's annual consumption is about 3.5 bn cm of gas. The only supplier is Russia, from which Ukraine is expected to buy the gas and transfer it to Bulgaria. Kostov also voiced concern over the "dramatic contraction of bilateral trade," which amounted some $ 200 mm last year.
Bulgaria's economy, which was heavily oriented to the former Soviet economic bloc, has not recovered from the collapse of its former trading ties, but is trying to use traditional links to forge economic ties now. Bulgaria regards Ukraine and other East European countries aspotential markets for its weapons industry, which is slowly recovering after a post-Cold War depression.

Kostov said Ukraine has shown interest in buying a stake in Bulgarian arms industry firms that are being privatised. "Both countries could set up joint projects in the energy sector, the agrarian industry and military industries," Yushchenko said.
Yushchenko discussed bilateral relations with President Petar Stoyanov. "We share the same Euro-Atlantic integration objectives and experience the same difficulties. We are not competitors in any area, but we are partners," Stoyanov said after the meeting.
During his two-day visit, Yushchenko will meet with Bulgarian lawmakers, municipal authorities in the capital, Sofia, and Bulgaria's central banker. Yushchenko, himself a former central banker, was appointed to head Ukraine's government in December.

Source: AP via Newspage
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