Russia, Romania Plan to Institute Joint Venture in the Gas Sphere

Moscow and Bucharest hope that a joint venture with the participation of Gazprom will be instituted before the end of this year.

Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase spoke about it after his negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

The Russian minister said that the questions of co-operation in the gas sphere were discussed during his meetings on Tuesday with co-chairman of the inter-governmental commission from the Romanian side Ioan Popescu.

According to the minister, the Romanian side declared its interest in expanding the Russian presence in Romania, including its interest in the participation of Russian companies in privatising Romanian gas distribution systems.

The Romanian entrepreneurs point out, according to Igor Ivanov, that they have established "good, businesslike partner relations with Gazprom." "The only thing which the governments of our countries have to do is to render all the necessary assistance to this co-operation," said the minister.

For his part, the Romanian prime minister noted that Bucharest "is interested in establishing direct contacts with Moscow and does not feel any necessity in having mediators between Moscow and Bucharest in this gas co-operation." "I am sure that we shall be able to create a joint venture with Gazprom," said Adrian Nastase. According to him, "it is quite natural that Gazprom wants to participate in privatising the gas distribution systems of Romania, because gas will be supplied also from Russia. And we understand the desire of the Russian company to take part in the proposals for its sale."

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