ROME, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Moscow and Rome are moving in tandem on plans for the South Stream natural gas pipeline.
"We are on the same wavelength regarding the South Stream, and we have full support," Kudrin told reporters during a news conference in Rome.
Kudrin, who also serves as Russian deputy prime minister, was in Rome to discuss strengthening the regional energy sector, the Italian Journalist Agency reports.
The proposed South Stream pipeline would bring an estimated 1.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from Central Asia and Russia to Italy through the Balkans. Its project company is a joint venture between Russian energy monopoly Gazprom and Italy's Eni S.p.A.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said, "The South Stream pipeline will be included among the priorities regarding trans-European infrastructures."
Plans to build portions of the pipeline through Bulgaria, Hungary and Serbia have been approved already by their respective governments.
Planners anticipate a South Stream launch date by 2013.