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Russia, Serbia Sign Gas Deal
    2008-12-25 10:56:27     CRIENGLISH.com

Russia and Serbia has signed a series of agreement on cooperation in the oil and gas sector.

The deal means Serbia will sell its oil monopoly, NIS, to Russia's state-controlled Gazprom in exchange for the construction of a strategic Russian pipeline through Serbia.

Russia president Dmitry Medvedev said it would provide energy security and boost economy for both countries in the coming year.

"It's symbolic that it happened before the New Year, the year that will probably create additional options for the development of our economies, for providing energy security for our countries and Europe as a whole. Such bilateral agreements give new motivation for economic development and create an additional base to help economies in difficult conditions and in the end they help to handle serious tasks."

Serbian president Boris Tadic said the agreement would benefit his people.

"As you know we want to become EU members. I think it will be useful not only for Serbian citizens but also for Russia. The fact that we are signing this gas contract today means that Russian gas will go through Serbia to Europe."

Critics say Russia has given no firm guarantees that it will build the natural gas pipeline, called the "South Stream", by 2015, even though Gazprom will be allowed to immediately take a controlling stake in NIS.

The 13 billion US dollar pipeline under the Black Sea would carry Russian natural gas to Bulgaria and Serbia before branching out to points in Western Europe.

 
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