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Bulgaria won't pay Moscow for oil pipeline

SOFIA, Bulgaria, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Bulgaria won't give Russian a single penny as reimbursement for backing away from the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, the Bulgarian prime minister said.

Bulgaria in 2007 signed an agreement with Russia and Greece to build the 174-mile Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline to bypass crowded waterways near Turkey by crossing an overland route to the Aegean Sea.

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Bulgarian Finance Minister Simeon Djankov said following a Dec. 7 meeting with government officials that Sofia planned to end its role in the pipeline project.

Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko this week said Moscow would add up the costs associated with the decision to back out of the pipeline. Bulgaria as of the end of November had a debt of around $8.1 million, Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, however, said he has no plans to settle the debt.

"We will not give them a single lev for the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project," he was quoted as saying.

Sofia has said it would seek to terminate the trilateral agreement by mutual consent. If that doesn't work, the country would pull out in about a year.

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