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Ironclad Guarantees Are Needed To Extend Turkish Stream to Europe

Jan. 15, 2018 (EIRNS)—In a hard-hitting press conference today in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that Russia would extend the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline farther west to Europe only if the European Commission provides “ironclad guarantees” that the contract will not be broken.

Foreign Minister Lavrov pointed out that the first line of the Turkish Stream pipeline is being built to deliver natural gas to Turkey now. He continued that

“the second [line] will only be constructed if we receive ironclad guarantees from the European Commission that they will not pull the same trick as happened with the ‘South Stream’ pipeline regarding Bulgaria.” Lavrov also stated that Bulgaria is again “ready to consider the possibility of taking the second line of the Turkish Stream.”

Lavrov characterized the European Commission’s action as

“Rather dirty play, of course, but hopefully, the purely economic nature of the project, and the fact that leading European energy companies support it as an economic and commercial project, will still prevent those dishonest games from getting the upper

hand,” according to coverage by TASS.

The Turkish Stream project enters Turkey’s exclusive economic zone, and Russia and Turkey have agreed upon the Turkish Stream landfall. Lavrov stressed that Russia “will be ready to accept any option wholly guaranteed by the European Commission,” reiterating,

“It is only possible to extend the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline further to Europe if the European Commission provides ironclad guarantees that the project will not be broken.”

Lavrov explained that, in such European Commission actions, he sees “the fear of fair competition. As they are not yet good enough at fair competition, they are shifting to unfair competition, to political pressure, to making European countries build respective facilities [which would import U.S.-made liquified natural gas—TASS] and thus receive more expensive gas. This is the choice of European countries; we assume that they should be aware of their economic interests themselves.”