Russia and Bulgaria agree on gas deliveries

Sep 22, 2002 02:00 AM

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov said that they had agreed to increase Moscow's natural gas supplies to Bulgaria and that the volume of Russian gas transiting the Balkan nation would also grow. Energy issues dominated the two leaders' Kremlin talks, which capped Parvanov's four-day visit to Russia.
Parvanov welcomed a deal under which Moscow would repay some of its debt to Bulgaria in nuclear fuel deliveries. Putin said Russian energy companies would surely be interested in purchasing components of Bulgaria's energy system that are slated for privatisation, but tried to deflect any concerns about possible Russian domination.
"Of course, we don't claim any exclusivity or preferential treatment," Putin said. "We want Russian firms to take part on equal terms. And I'm sure the choice will be honest and objective."

Responding to a question about his attitude to Bulgaria's possible future membership in NATO, Putin said it was up to each nation to make its own decision."It's my deep personal conviction that Bulgaria's security will certainly not grow as a result of joining NATO, but let's say there are domestic policy reasons that make it attractive," Putin said.
"The main thing is that any country has a right to choose the security system it considers necessary in this sensitive sphere, which is very important for any state."

Parvanov, a Socialist credited with seeking to reform his previously communist party, beat the incumbent in an election last November and vowed to work toward membership in the European Union and NATO.
He said the ties between Russia and Bulgaria, close allies in the Soviet era, had been constrained in recent years by politicians who rejected the country's communist legacy and wanted to put its pre-1989 history "in the rear-view mirror." Bulgaria's aspirations for fuller integration into Europe should not cancel out its need for Russia, he said. "European integration for Bulgaria doesn't exclude, but requires, more cooperation with Russia," Parvanov said.

Source: The Russia Journal Daily
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