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Russia/Bulgaria: Ministers Push For Oil Pipeline

Moscow, 29 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The foreign ministers of Russia, Bulgaria and Greece last week pledged political assistance to help push forward with construction of an oil pipeline that would circumvent the Bosporous Strait.

The project would link Bulgaria's Black Sea port of Burgas to the Greek Aegean port city of Alexandropolis. Moscow, Sofia and Athens announced the joint project more than a year ago.

But so far, work has stalled, with Sofia accusing Moscow of attempting to control ownership of pipelines in Bulgarian territory. Sofia also has fallen out with Athens, accusing it of awarding contracts to Greek companies before initial studies were completed.

Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov, Bulgarian Foreign Minister George Pirinski and Greek Foreign Minister Teodoros Pangalos met in Moscow today on the sidelines of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Conference.

A communique signed by the three foreign ministers says the European Union could be a possible source of financing for the pipeline's construction. It says foreign ministry officials from Bulgaria and Greece could meet soon to discuss the project.