European leader says Russia wants to "credible, stable" energy partnership
BRUSSELS, Belgium – Russia wants to show that it can be a “credible, stable and reliable” energy partner for the European Union and is ready to start negotiations that could lead to a formal pact, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Tuesday.Barroso said Russian President Vladimir Putin has given the EU firm guarantees on energy supplies, but noted Moscow’s refusal to ratify an energy charter or open up Russian gas networks.”What I think is positive is that the president of Russia told me that he is ready to engage on a bilateral negotiation with the European Union on those matters,” Barroso said. “So let’s make that dialogue on energy, let’s make a partnership with Russia.”Russia is Europe’s No. 1 gas supplier and its second largest source of oil.Barroso said Putin stressed that Russia was open to investment from European energy companies to improve the country’s ability to supply oil and gas to the EU.”The leverage we have is strong because we are the main client of Russia,” he said. “Russia of course has an interest in selling gas and oil, we also have an interest in having that security of supply from Russia.”He said a “win-win-win” situation was possible for supplier, consumer and transit countries as all had an interest in cooperating.However, Russia is sticking to its position that it will not ratify the Energy Charter, an international agreement specifically banning the link between supplies and transit deals.The charter would also help mediate transit disputes such as the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute earlier this year that led to Moscow temporarily switching off Europe’s gas supply.”On third-party access to networks within Russia, President Putin feels for the time being at least that cannot be guaranteed,” he said. “We don’t agree on everything.”Barroso said negotiations will continue at an EU-Russia summit in May and other talks throughout the year.Vail, Colorado
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