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Latvia has no complaints against Russia over the North European Gas Pipeline
Latvia has no complaints against Russia over the North European Gas Pipeline (NEG), but it objects to outgoing German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's handling of the issue, Latvian Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks told a Russian newspaper Tuesday. The agreement on the NEG was signed September 8 by natural gas monopoly Gazprom and German companies. The 1200km pipeline will link Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea. Offshoots may then be built to link it with Russia's Kaliningrad region, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and the UK. The project is estimated at 4 billion euros. Russian daily newspaper Vremya Novostei quoted the minister as saying he understood the Russian position, but found Schroeder's arguments on the issue illogical. "Unlike Russia, Germany, like Latvia, is an EU member. All of Europe needs to import energy, and since we are partners, we should consult each other. Russia is working on its own national interests - it wants to sell as much gas as possible, whereas the former German government did not do everything it should have done," Pabriks said. According the minister, the EU has a joint energy policy, so Germany should consider the interests of the whole union. The decision to build the pipeline is a political one made by Schroeder. "I am convinced of this. Germany will not benefit from it because it will not strengthen the country's position in the EU."
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