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Moscow: Nord Stream a diplomatic bridge

MOSCOW, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Moscow said the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea to Germany is a sign of growing European ties.

Russian gas monopoly Gazprom is leading a consortium that is building the Nord Stream pipeline through the Baltic Sea to Germany. Moscow aims to diversify its gas transit options to Europe by avoiding politically sensitive territory in Ukraine with the project.

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The Kremlin said that with European gas demand expected to grow by at least 7 trillion cubic feet of gas per year within the decade, additional transit networks were of great importance.

The government adds that the project is a sign of the close economic relationship between Moscow and Berlin despite the growing European backing of the rival Nabucco gas pipeline, Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports.

Nabucco would bring non-Russian gas to European consumers. The European community sees the project as a way to break the Russian grip on the regional energy sector.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in 2009 she wanted no public funding reserved for the Nabucco project, however.

Germany is one of the largest European trading partners with Russia.

Nord Stream would move 1.9 trillion cubic feet per year to European consumers when it is completed in 2012.

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