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Sofia reverses course on scrapped pipeline

SOFIA, Bulgaria, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- The Bulgarian government said it would settle its obligations to Russia for backing away from the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

Bulgarian Ambassador to Russia Plamen Grozdanov said Sofia aims to settle the financial score with Russia for the oil pipeline this year. He said the government had allocated the funds in its 2012 budget for debts accrued since 2009, the Sofia News Agency reports.

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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.

Bulgarian Finance Minister Simeon Djankov said following a December meeting with government officials that Sofia planned to end its role in the pipeline project. Sofia said the pipeline didn't make financial sense.

Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko in late 2011 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.

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