Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Turkey, Romania Discuss Gas Pipeline

Monday March 3

Turkey's President Gul Visiting Romania Amid Differences Over Kosovo, Gas Pipeline

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) -- Turkish President Abdullah Gul began a two-day official visit to Romania on Monday amid differences between the two countries over Kosovo and a regional gas pipeline project.

Romania supports the involvement of Gaz de France in the Nabucco project -- the U.S- and European Union-backed pipeline that will reduce energy dependency on Russia by bringing gas from the Caspian Sea region through Turkey and Romania.

Ankara rejects the participation of the French company in the pipeline construction. Romanian President Traian Basescu said he raised the issue with Gul, and that the Turkish side said they would analyze it.

Gul called Nabucco "an important project and we hope to see it done soon," he said.

The two delegations resumed discussions on a joint project to build an undersea power cable between Romania and Turkey. Romania has two nuclear reactors and plans to build another two.

Gul is joined by businessmen during his trip to Romania. In recent years, trade has increased between Romania and Turkey, and is now worth $7 billion.

Gul's visit comes weeks after Kosovo's independence, which Turkey recognized, but Romania did not. The two delegations discussed Kosovo as well as NATO's enlargement -- foreseen to take place at the NATO summit in Bucharest in April.

Basescu said Romania will support "without any reservations" Turkey's bid to join the European Union when all conditions are met. He also said Romanian authorities will try to find solutions "to ease access to Romania for Turkish businessmen," while observing obligations the country, as EU member state, has regarding visas for non-EU citizens.

The two delegations signed a series of bilateral treaties on sea transportation, education, media cooperation and the promotion and mutual protection of investments.

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