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U.S. Presses Bulgaria On Energy Independence

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has urged Bulgaria to decrease its heavy dependence on Russia for energy.

Speaking at a news conference with Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in Sofia on January 15, Kerry said Washington is interested in helping the country take "practical steps to enhance energy security in Bulgaria and across Europe."

Among the ideas being considered are the construction of a natural gas pipeline spur from Greece and moving ahead with a stalled contract with Westinghouse Electric Co. to build a new nuclear power plant.

Bulgaria relies on Russia for 85 percent of its gas, and its existing nuclear power plant uses Russian nuclear fuel.

Washington has long expressed concern about Bulgaria's reliance on Russia for energy.

Kerry also called for the NATO member to boost anti-corruption efforts.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters

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