Energy summit in Poland begins without key guest

Other News Materials 11 May 2007 13:15 (UTC +04:00)

( RIA Novosti ) - A summit aimed at reducing energy dependence on Russia has gone ahead in the Polish city of Krakow without Kazakhstan's president, a key participant.

Instead the Lithuanian leader joined the summit, together with the presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine, which will focus on a project to extend Ukraine's Odessa-Brody pipeline to pump mainly Kazakh oil from the Caspian Sea to Plock and Gdansk in Poland and further onto Europe.

Plans to extend the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline to supply oil from Azerbaijan to EU countries via Georgia and Turkey to ensure uninterrupted supplies are also on the agenda of the two-day forum.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev was originally expected to attend the summit, but pulled out of it to host Russia's Vladimir Putin Thursday and take part in three-party gas talks in Turkmenistan Friday.

At talks with Putin, Nazarbayev said his country planned to transport nearly all oil to global markets via Russian territory.

"Oil and gas cooperation [with Russia] is strategically important, specifically in transporting Kazakh oil to global markets, using Russian trunk pipelines and joint refineries," Nazarbayev said. " Kazakhstan is committed to transporting most of its oil, if not all of it, across Russian territory."

In an article on Putin's Central Asian tour, a leading Polish newspaper, Dziennik, has said Russia "has torpedoed Poland's plans" to create an anti-Russian energy alliance.

In Turkmenistan, Putin will continue to push for a gas pipeline from the energy-rich Central Asian state along the Kazakh and Russian Caspian coast, a project rivaled by proposals from the U.S. and Europe to build a pipeline under the Caspian Sea to deliver gas to southern Europe via Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

Georgia's president said after a meeting with his Polish counterpart, Lech Kaczynski, late Thursday that Warsaw's initiative was important anyway. Mikheil Saakashvili said the summit could lay the groundwork for "closer cooperation on energy issues so critical for the present-day world."