Russian envoy cites Greek interest in Turkish Stream pipeline extension

Monday, 11 February 2019 21:43
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Russia's ambassador to Athens this week referred to Greek interest, as he said, in a possible extension of the Turkish Stream natgas pipeline to the country.

Ambassador Andrey Maslov was quoted by the pro-Kremlin Sputnik news agency as saying that this very prospect was discussed last December in talks between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Maslov cited a 2017 agreement  between Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, with Greece operator DE.PA and Italian multinational Edison, aimed at exploring the prospect of a pipeline extension to western Europe via Greece and Italy.

One condition that must be met, he added, is for the European Commission to provide "clear guarantees" that such a plan will not be blocked.

In "changing gears", however, the Russian diplomat reiterated Moscow's opposition to the Prespa agreement between Athens and the neighboring former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) - a development that will, by all accounts, allow the land-locked southern Balkans country to join NATO as the "Republic of North Macedonia".

Maslov repeated the Russian side's criticism of a "serious internal violation" of fYRoM's laws in passing the agreement, and also claimed that the majority of residents in the neighboring country are against the agreement.

"Such an accelerated and feverish accession of a Balkan country into NATO cannot constitute a factor of stability," he said.

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