U.S: Turkish stance on South Stream OK

Aug. 28, 2009 at 11:37 AM
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ANKARA, Turkey, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- The South Stream natural gas pipeline is not specifically intended to weaken European efforts to develop its Nabucco artery, U.S. officials said in Ankara.

Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., met with Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz as part of his duty as the co-president of the U.S.-Turkey Congressional Friendship Caucus.

Wexler said he did not see Russian efforts to build the South Stream gas pipeline in Turkish territorial waters of the Black Sea as an explicit move to undermine Nabucco, Turkey's daily Today's Zaman reports.

"We hold that Russia doesn't perceive the South Stream project as a step to prevent the creation of the Nabucco pipeline," he said, adding, "our strategic ally's (Turkey) statements are also in this direction."

Ankara hosted a July summit to sign an intergovernmental signing of support for Nabucco. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, for his part, emerged from an Aug. 6 meeting with a Turkish agreement to host a leg of the South Stream gas pipeline in its territorial waters.

Wexler said Washington understands the Turkish push to emerge as a regional energy hub by courting the Russian- and U.S-backed rival projects.

The Democratic representative noted the key issue of his visit, however, was to examine ways to boost bilateral energy cooperation, especially joint efforts in renewable energy.

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