Tension due to late pipeline construction removed

The Russian-Chinese intergovernmental talks in Beijing were able to remove the tension in connection with the postponement of implementation of the East Siberia-China oil pipeline building project, deputy Russian natural resources minister Irina Osokina, who is in the Chinese capital as part of a Russian government delegation, told journalists.

Our experts made explanations, and the tension was removed, she said.

In Osokina's words, ecology expertise is underway of the submitted projects to build the pipeline, and, despite earlier voiced statements, there's no final conclusion yet. The deputy minister reported Russian YUKOS and Transneft companies "showed their vision of the problem, while [natural resources ministry] specialists made remarks, which the companies are to listen to." In Osokina's words, ecologists demand one thing from the project - it should be in line with the national nature-protection legislature and abide by Russia's international commitments in the nature-protecting field.

"The expertise will be completed when all recommendations are followed. The terms depend on the companies," Osokina specified.

As RIA Novosti earlier reported, both variants of the oil pipeline route are likely to be negatively assessed by ecologists. In accordance with the agreement signed between Russian and Chinese companies, first oil deliveries from East Siberia via the pipeline are to start in 2005.

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