Bulgaria's Former President Calls for Direct Gas Talks with Russia
President (2002-2012) ABV leader Georgi Parvanov has urged the government to begin talks with Russia about possible gas deliveries to the future Balkan Gas Hub.
Parvanov's words come as Bulgaria wants to set up a regional gas distribution center on its territory and has held a conference with investors to discuss possible routes and modes of public-private partnership.
The former head of state, however, has said Sofia should not seek help from the EU Commission to sit at the table with Moscow, but should rather do it on its own, in a reference to Prime Minister Boyko Borisov's suggestion that Brussels should take part in trilateral talks with Bulgaria and Russia.
"Apparently the phone conversation is not enough," public radio BNR quotes him as saying. Borisov called Russian President Putin in August, in an attempt to unfreeze talks on joint energy projects brought to a halt by the demise of South Stream pipeline in 2014.
"It turned out Prime Minister Borisov and Putin agreed [on gas deliveries], but perhaps there was a misunderstanding. It was made clear there will be no pipe to Bulgaria. Maybe we will force them into launching one?" Parvanov has added and has called for more active diplomatic steps in energy-rich countries, not only Russia but also Azerbaijan and Iran.
His ABV party initially had a minister in Borisov's minority coalition government, but withdrew its support earlier this year.
Parvanov was the Bulgarian mastermind of the three so-called "Grand Energy Slam" projects - Belene nuclear plant, Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, and South Stream - which Bulgaria and Russia intended on carrying through together, but which were suspended over the last five years.
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