MOSCOW, April 18 (UPI) -- Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Friday the European community hasn't formally rejected the South Stream natural gas pipeline.
Russian energy company Gazprom aims to build the South Stream gas pipeline through southern Europe to avoid geopolitically sensitive territory in Ukraine. European leaders, frustrated with Russia's reaction to the Ukrainian tilt toward the European Union, said they were reluctant to embrace a project that would strengthen Gazprom's grip on the region's energy sector.
Novak said Friday the project is going ahead as planned.
"We are continuing our work with the European Commission, and the project has not been suspended,” he said.
A resolution passed Thursday in the European Parliament calls on members of the European Union to reconsider the pipeline.
South Stream is designed to pass through the Black Sea before making landfall in southern Europe. Gazprom said some sections should be open to receive gas by 2016 and the full system should be operational by 2018.