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  Sunday, September 22, 2019
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Russia and Slovakia have agreed to hold talks on a new agreement on natural gas supplies and transit
Russia and Slovakia have agreed to hold talks on a new agreement on natural gas supplies and transit, Russia's foreign minister said Wednesday. "Slovakia receives Russian natural gas and oil and it is a central transit country," Sergei Lavrov said following talks with his Slovakian counterpart, Eduard Kukan. "We agreed to start talks on preparations for a new agreement on gas, as the current agreement expires in 2008 and we must prepare in advance to conclude a new agreement." Lavrov also said there are no grounds to question the reliability of Russian natural gas supplies to Europe, seeking to allay concerns caused by construction of the North European Gas Pipeline. "The diversification of export routes from Russia is aimed not at replacing existing routes but at supplementing them and thereby increasing energy security in Europe," he said. The joint German-Russian NEGP project will run from the Baltic coast on the Russian-Finnish border to the Greifswald region in north Germany. First supplies are slated for late 2010. The NEGP has raised concerns from Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic states that they will be cut out of the natural resources loop, concerns dismissed as "irrelevant" by former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who was elected chairman of the project shareholders' committee last week. In April 1997, Russian energy giant Gazprom signed a series of agreements with Slovensky Plynarensky Priemysel (SPP) under which the Slovakian gas company got a discount of $5 per 1,000 cu m of Russian natural gas. In return, a Gazprom-Slovak joint venture was formed to transit Russian natural gas via Slovakia to the European Union. In July 2002, the European Commission approved the purchase of a 49% stake in SPP by Gazprom, Ruhrgas and Gaz de France.
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