Georgia expects Russian opposition to regional pipeline
Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze said Friday he expected Moscow to oppose a regional pipeline, AGRI, aimed at supplying Azerbaijani gas to Europe and reducing dependence on Russian energy.
"I can imagine there is an opposition but so far it has not been expressed openly," Vashadze told a press conference in Bucharest.
"Let's wait a little while and you will hear from Moscow why AGRI is opposed to the political and economic interests of this region," he added.
The Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania interconnector (AGRI) aims to carry Azerbaijani liquefied natural gas to western Europe, via Georgia and Romania.
Considered as complementary to another European pipeline project, Nabucco, AGRI will diversify the European Union's energy supplies and reduce its dependence on Russian energy.
Moscow, which backs a rival pipeline, South Stream, has repeatedly voiced its opposition to Nabucco.
"AGRI had aroused the interest of other states in the region, proving it is viable," Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi said.
He said part of the infrastructure was already in place, both in Romania and in Georgia, which means its cost will not be "disproportionate."
According to preliminary data, the project could cost some four billion euros ($5.44 billion).
Baconschi announced that the energy ministers of the two countries, joined by their Hungarian counterpart, will meet on Monday in Bucharest to discuss the project.
© 2011 AFP