Baltic ministers blast German-Russian pipeline

  • 2005-10-05
  • From wire reports
RIGA - In an interview with the BBC, Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks expressed Latvia's negative attitude toward the plans of Russia and Germany to lay a direct natural gas pipeline on the floor of the Baltic Sea.

The minister's spokeswoman, Inga Saleniece, quoted the minister as saying that "It is possible that this is not only a business but also a political project."

Pabriks also emphasized Latvia's wish to build good relations with Russia, but pointed out that "this is not the way to do it."

Pabriks was echoing the overall Baltic sentiment toward the $5 billion pipeline project.

After talks with his Latvian counterpart Artis Pabriks last week, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet told journalists that the country did not support the Russian-German plan. The minister believes that the gas pipeline would be a threat to the safety and the environment as well as the economy of those countries lining the Baltic Sea.

He said Estonia was also disappointed by the fact that Germany and Russia did not consult other countries on the Baltic coast before signing the agreement. The foreign minister described such an attitude as improper.

Pabriks agreed with Paet, saying, "It is important to remember that in terms of energy, we are dependent countries." However, he added, Latvia should see to it that those countries from whose energy resources it depends do not take political advantage of the situation.

Russian gas giant Gazprom and two German companies, E.ON un BASF, signed an agreement at the beginning of September to build the natural gas pipeline from the Gulf of Finland to northeastern Germany.