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Gazeta Wyborcza - Poland | Thursday, August 28, 2008

Greece's breach of faith

Russian energy giant Gazprom is drawing up plans for the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline, which is to run past Georgia across the Black Sea to Bulgaria. The Greek parliament is on the verge of ratifying a contract with Russia in which Athens gives its permission for the construction project, which is widely seen to compete with the [proposed] European-backed Nabucco Pipeline project. The Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza criticises the planned ratification. "The ratification of the agreement between Greece and Moscow will affect the entire EU's relations with Russia. The construction of the [proposed] Nabucco pipeline has the EU's backing because securing raw material supplies from the states bordering the Caspian Sea through a network of gas pipelines which are independent of Russia is intended to end Gazprom's monopoly in Europe. But these changes do not stand a chance if Georgia is excluded from the chain of states that are involved in the transport of raw materials outside of Russia. Indeed, this could have been one of the goals of the Russian attack [on Georgia]. If that was the Russians' plan, Greece will be sealing it by ratifying the gas treaty at this point in time. ... Athens would also prove that all the talk of sanctions that the EU could impose on Russia because of its recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia constitutes nothing more than empty words."

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