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Sweden gives OK to Nord Stream

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Sweden on Thursday announced it gave permission to Nord Stream AG to lay two natural gas pipelines in the Swedish economic zone in the Baltic Sea.

Nord Stream would travel along a dual route through the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea to Germany. It is among the many options meant to ease the burden on Ukraine, which hosts the majority of all Russian export gas to Europe.

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Several littoral states in the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea had expressed concern over the environmental impact of pipeline construction, which is complicated by World War II munitions strewn along the sea floor.

Andreas Carlgren, the Swedish environmental minister, stressed that protecting the environment in the Baltic Sea was "a priority issue" for his government.

"We have undertaken an extremely extensive study of the environmental impact of these pipelines," he said. Nord Stream AG "has been required to make several supplementary studies and have step by step complied with the referral bodies' viewpoints."

A statement from the Swedish government placed certain provisions on moving forward with pipeline construction.

Those provisions include strict monitoring activity, considerations by Nord Stream AG regarding munitions and appropriate environmental remediation activity.

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"Sweden has a long tradition of compliance with international law and conventions," said Carlgren. "This will not be broken."

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