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Saakashvili Decries Gas Meddling

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said Gazprom was trying to disrupt his country's talks with other gas producers.

"I know that Gazprom is trying to put out the message that Georgia is in a tough spot," Saakashvili told reporters in Tbilisi on Saturday in televised comments. Gazprom "has sought out allies inside the republic, even among the mass media.''

Accusing Gazprom of using "propaganda'' against Georgia, Saakashvili said Georgia would continue its talks with Turkey, Iran, and Azerbaijan on the possibility of importing their gas.

Saakashvili said Georgia will not be cowed by Russia and could build an independent energy policy.

"For the first time ever, Georgia is exporting power this year," he said.

The vice speaker of Georgia's parliament, Michael Machavariani, said Friday that Russia was putting pressure on Azerbaijan to walk away from gas talks with Georgia. Should the gas Russia exports to Azerbaijan end up in Georgia, prices will be increased for both countries, Machavariani said Friday.

On Friday, Georgia's Energy Ministry said its natural gas supplies had not been affected by an incident at a pipeline in Russia.

A Gazprom official said a blast occurred Friday morning on a 720-millimeter pipeline in North Ossetia, but that all consumers in Russia and Georgia were getting their supplies as usual, via a parallel pipeline.


(The Moscow Times 27.xi.06)

 
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