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Nabucco Pipeline Focus Of Vienna Roundtable

Gas separator in Baumgarten, Germany.

Gas separator in Baumgarten, Germany.

PRAGUE -- The German-based Eurasia Transition Group organized a roundtable discussion in Vienna today to discuss Turkmenistan's possible role in the Nabucco gas pipeline, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

Nabucco is planned to transport natural gas from Turkey to Austria. The project is intended to diversify supplies and lessen European dependence on Russian energy sources.

Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Austria signed an intergovernmental agreement on Nabucco in July. The Turkish Parliament ratified that agreement.

The roundtable participants discussed the geopolitical aspects of the project, including the role of the United States, the European Union, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Nurmuhammet Hanamov, one of the key speakers at the discussion and the former Turkmen ambassador to Turkey, told RFE/RL that the major obstacles to launching construction of the pipeline are the unsolved legal status of the Caspian Sea and the dispute between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan over ownership of an oil and gas field in the Caspian Sea.

Hanamov added that also problematic are the lack of democratic institutions and the rule of law in Turkmenistan.