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EU confirms schedule for trilateral gas talks

No agenda given for Friday round of diplomacy.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Europe confirms trilateral gas talks with Ukraine and Russia set for Berlin. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in August his country's hands are tied as long as debt issues are held up in an international court of arbitration. (File/UPI/Yuri Gripas) | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/dda1030c279dbb3c534cc1f448283c48/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Europe confirms trilateral gas talks with Ukraine and Russia set for Berlin. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in August his country's hands are tied as long as debt issues are held up in an international court of arbitration. (File/UPI/Yuri Gripas) | License Photo

BRUSSELS, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- The European Commission confirmed a trilateral meeting with Russian and Ukrainian energy ministers was scheduled for Friday in Berlin.

The commission said European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger would sit down with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan.

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No agenda was given in Monday's announcement. Russian media reported European leaders were ready to discuss reliable gas transits and would consider the status of the planned South Stream gas pipeline if the issue was raised.

Members of the European Parliament passed a resolution Thursday calling on "EU countries to cancel planned energy sector agreements with Russia, including the South Stream gas pipeline."

South Stream is a Russian option to avoid geopolitically sensitive territory in Ukraine, plagued by conflict since a November pivot toward the European Union.

Russia meets about a quarter of Europe's gas needs, though the bulk of those supplies run through the Soviet-era transit network in Ukraine.

Novak said Moscow was committed to meeting its contractual obligations to Europe.

During August peace talks in Belarus, Russian President Vladimir Putin said there were few options for Ukraine itself because of pending debt issues tied up in an international court of arbitration.

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