Bulgaria’s Cabinet plans to send a government delegation to Moscow on December 19 to discuss the prospect of reviving the South Stream gas pipeline project, Russian and Bulgarian media quoted Economy Minister Bozhidar Loukarski as saying in Belgrade on December 16, following meetings with Serbian officials.
“Bulgaria never intended to give up on the South Stream project and would like to hear the official position of the Russian Energy minister on it,” he is quoted as saying. He also said that the pipeline could be brought in line with the EU regulations, although it remains unclear to what extent Russia is willing to do so, given that EU rules were one of the main obstacles cited by Russian president Vladimir Putin when he announced the project’s cancellation in Ankara on December 1.
It is unclear, also, whether Russia has agreed on holding such a meeting, with Russian news agency Itar-Tass reporting on December 17, citing unnamed sources familiar with the situation, that Russian energy minister Alexander Novak was still deliberating on the issue of a meeting.
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(Photo of ceremonial first welding on Bulgarian stretch of South Stream in October 2013 from gazprom.ru)