Putin Invites Bulgarian PM for South Stream Groundbreaking

November 12, 2012, Monday // 09:57
Putin Invites Bulgarian PM for South Stream Groundbreaking Ceremony: Putin Invites Bulgarian PM for South Stream Groundbreaking
Russian President, Vladimir Putin (l), has invited Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the South Stream gas pipeline. Photo by BGNES

Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, has received an invitation from Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the South Stream gas pipeline.

The event is scheduled for December 7 in the Russian town of Anapa, on the Black Sea west coast, where the line will begin, the Bulgarian Standard daily writes Monday.

The invitation is also addressed to Economy and Energy Minister, Delyan Dobrev, and the Head of the Bulgarian Energy Holding, BEH, Mihail Andonov. It is expected that Putin will try to bring together the top officials from all countries participating in the project.

The Bulgarian government press office notes that Borisov's agenda until the end of 2012 did not include a trip to Russia and it remains unclear if he would accept the invitation.

Initially, Putin was scheduled to visit Bulgaria on November 9, when the two countries were expected to sign the contract for the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline and the new six-year contract for gas supplies to Bulgaria. The two were to hold a symbolic groundbreaking near the eastern town of Provadia where the pipe would come out on Bulgarian territory.

On the first day of November 2012, Dmitriy Peskov, spokesperson for Putin, confirmed changes to the schedule of the visits of the Russian President to Turkey and Bulgaria.

Peskov, as cited by the Rosblat news agency, explained that the Russian Head of State was dealing with health issues caused by an old sports injury.

The South Stream and the gas delivery contracts are to be signed by Gazprom head Alexey Miller on the Russian side with Gazprom chiefs expected to arrive in Bulgaria on November 15.

Bulgargaz will sign for Bulgaria. The gas delivery contract is expected to be valid for 6 years and to include alleviated conditions and lower prices for Bulgaria.

Last week, the Bulgarian Cabinet pledged to bind the construction of South Stream with the prices of Russian gas. President, Rosen Plevneliev, stated he expected more transparency in the pipeline negotiations and contracts.

"The President had not been in Bulgaria obviously since Dobrev first presented all details before the Cabinet and then before the Parliament," Borisov countered, adding the Energy Minister would present the project before Plevneliev as early as Monday.

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