Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Turkmenistan, the former Soviet republic that holds the world’s fourth-largest reserves of natural gas, said Russia has no right to block a planned pipeline across the Caspian Sea.
A decision on the link, including its environmental impact, is a matter for the states involved, Turkmenistan’s Foreign Ministry said late yesterday in a statement on its website.
The European Union, which is seeking alternative sources of energy to reduce dependence on Russia, last month started negotiations for a legally binding treaty with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to build the Trans-Caspian Pipeline System.
The proposed link needs the agreement of all of the Caspian Sea littoral nations that include Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Iran before it can go ahead, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said earlier this month.
The Russian president cited environmental concerns and the uncertain legal status of the Caspian Sea, according to the Kremlin’s website. Russia, holder of the world’s biggest gas reserves, currently supplies a quarter of Europe’s fuel needs.
--Editors: Stephen Cunningham, Alex Devine.
To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Bierman in Moscow email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org.