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Negotiations on the gas interconnector continue in Sofia next week

15 October 2015 / 10:10:13  GRReporter
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The trilateral meeting involving Greece and Bulgaria’s Ministers of Energy and the special envoy and coordinator for US international energy relations in Athens ended with statements of significant progress for the construction of the IGB interconnector between the two countries.

After the meeting, Greek Minister of Energy Panos Skourletis pointed out that Athens is interested in speeding up the construction process of the gas connection with Bulgaria in the presence of conditions provided for its sustainability. He said,

"We had a very interesting discussion that went very well. The main topic of the conversation was the IGB interconnector. Questions were raised on our part in connection with the project funding and sustainability. The gas connection has its own importance and this is the position of all parties. The Greek and Bulgarian side will meet again in Sofia next week. I think there is a will to accelerate the construction process and all will contribute to the implementation of the project in the presence of conditions provided for its financial sustainability. I.e. to indicate in the contracts the quantities that will pass through the pipeline. We hope the situation will be clearer next month and the process will have a positive development."

In turn, envoy to Washington Amos Hochstein expressed satisfaction with the talks, stressing that the United States wants to continue to cooperate with Greece over its energy security and especially the role it can play as a strategic partner in the region. He said, "We had a great discussion, both with the Greek Minister of Energy and during the tripartite meeting with Bulgaria’s Minister of Energy. We made significant progress on the construction of the IGB gas connection and hopefully, as Mr. Skourletis pointed out earlier, we will come to an agreement in the short term."

The statements made clear that during the meeting the two discussed the Trans Adriatic Pipeline too. The Greek Minister of Energy stressed the need for improvement of the agreement conditions. "TAP is a project of great strategic importance. Our government actually has "inherited" the agreement conditions and our opinion is that they should be improved, at least with regard to the Greek side. This is a turning point and we would like to contribute to the acceleration of the process, having improved the benefits for Greece prior to that, as far as this is now possible."

Amos Hochstein did not reject this possibility. "With regard to TAP I will agree that it is a strategic project and some details have to be specified. I think that both sides are aware of the importance of signing an agreement."

At the end of his statements, the US diplomat added, "For me it was an important visit. I met with the Minister for the first time and I am leaving convinced that we will be strategic partners and will continue to cooperate very closely, as we did in the past."

Tags: PoliticsEnergyInterconnector between Greece and BulgariaUS diplomacyTripartite meeting of energy ministers
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