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Erdogan expresses Nabucco optimism

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Discussions with regional energy giants and major gas supplier nations are reason for optimism for the Nabucco pipeline, the Turkish premier said in Washington.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Washington this week to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama to discuss a broad range of issues, from the Afghan war to European energy security.

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Turkey aims to position itself as a major energy hub, offering up its territory for a series of oil and gas pipelines.

Russian holds a strong grip on the European energy sector. Europe wants to ease that dependency through the Nabucco pipeline using Middle Eastern and Central Asian suppliers, notably Azerbaijan.

Erdogan during his meetings with the U.S. president said talks with Baku and a July intergovernmental agreement on Nabucco were cause for optimism.

"We continue to talk with Azerbaijan," he said. "I do believe that positive progress will be made in this area."

Nabucco is designed to have the capacity to move 1.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas each year to European customers from Caspian and Middle Eastern suppliers. The pipeline would run from the Caspian region through Turkey to Austria along a route through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.

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