ECONOMY

Pipeline still on track

Foreign Ministry sources dismissed a claim that «Russia has withdrawn its support» from a pipeline to link the Bulgarian port of Burgas with the Greek of Alexandroupolis, made by a rival project’s top official. Gligor Tashkovich, executive vice president for Government & Media Relations for AMBO (Albania-[Former Yugoslav Republic of] Macedonia-Bulgaria Oil) told the Balkanalysis.com website that «the public withdrawal of support for the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline project by both Russian President Putin and [Russian oil company] Lukoil President Vagit Alekperov» accelerated procedures for another pipeline from Burgas to the Albanian port of Vlore. «The Greeks keep acting like nothing is happening – but all their lobbying efforts are falling on deaf ears. The Greek media continue to illustrate one side of the story, and the Greek ministers keep putting on a brave face,» said Tashkovich, adding that most of the funds needed for the Burgas-Vlore project have been secured. Yet Greek Foreign Ministry circles suggest that these statements «lack any real basis» and «simply echo the wishes of our competitors.» They further revealed «the Russian side is preparing a trilateral meeting (Greece, Bulgaria and Russia) so that it can commit to supplying Russian oil for the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline.» Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis had categorically denied talk of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis project being canceled, after the signing of the trilateral agreement by Bulgaria, FYROM and Albania last month for the Burgas-Vlore pipeline.