Moscow in Apate’s embrace

Moscow in Apate’s embrace

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 19

By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

The signing of a memorandum by Russia's Energy Minister, Alexander Novak and Greece's Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister, Panagiotis Lafazanis for construction and operation of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline in Greece fully meets the requirements of the EU Third Energy Package.

However, Moscow still has no final agreement with Ankara on the construction of the pipeline on Turkey's territory.

During the signing of the memorandum on the Turkish Stream's construction, Lafazanis noted that Greece is trying to become an energy hub in the region.

"Our goal is to have any pipeline play a role in the development of stability in the region," said Lafazanis. "For this, Greece is trying to pursue a multi-vector energy policy. It isn't going against any country, nor is it giving preference to anyone. We want to cooperate on an equal footing with all the players."

Representatives of the Turkish government, which has never hidden the country's desire to become an energy hub in the region, said the same earlier.

Almost all projects, the implementation of which involves Turkey, including the approved ones, pursue this goal. In particular, this applies to the Turkish Stream, in the construction of which the Turkish companies will not participate.

Earlier, Russian media with reference to Austrian online news publication "Die Presse" reported that the Turkish Stream pipeline, through which gas from Russia will be transported to Europe, bypassing Ukraine, will be built by the OMV Austrian company.

The OMV refused to give comments on this fact to Trend.

The fact that the Botas Turkish state pipeline company will not participate in the construction of the pipeline shows that this project is quite risky for the Turkish authorities.

If the Turkish authorities were convinced that there are no risks in the course of implementation of this project, they would have already begun the construction of the Turkish Stream pipeline.

But now the Turkish media writes about Ankara's concerns due to the fact that Greece will become a shareholder in the Turkish Stream project.

Earlier, Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that Russia and Greece would determine the founder in the joint company for extension of the Turkish Stream.

Novak said that investment banks from the two sides will be the founders of the joint company and Gazprom won't be the owner of the pipeline.

"Each side will determine its founder in this company. The Greek side is creating a special company called Energy Investment Company, while from the Russian side it will be VEB Capital," Novak told the reporters.

Everything is clear regarding Russia on this issue, however it is unclear how the Greek side will find the money. Although Greece's debts were partly written off in 2012, its public debt currently exceeds 315 billion euros.

Greece is unable to fulfill its obligations to pay off the multi-billion-dollar-debts. In early June, the ruling party of Greece decided not to transfer another payment to the International Monetary Fund and asked to postpone it to the end of June.

There is no doubt that Moscow will extend the hand of friendship to Athens and render financial support to Greece in the establishment of the parent company. But Russia is taking a great risk by supporting Greece, as the country may at any time abandon its commitments, as it was with the sale of a controlling stake in DESFA state-owned gas operator to SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan).

In short, by signing a memorandum on the construction and operation of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline on the territory of Greece, Moscow seems to be caught by Apate - Greek goddess of lies and deceit.

Edited by CN

Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu

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