Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 98

The Russian and Bulgarian prime ministers, Viktor Chernomyrdin and Zhan Videnov, conferred in Moscow September 18 on a project to build an oil pipeline from the Bulgarian port of Burgas on the Black Sea to the Greek port Alexandroupolis on the Aegean. "It is necessary to stop talking and get down to business," Chernomyrdin admonished. They hope to sign the trilateral agreement with their Greek counterpart at a meeting in Sofia in October. The two also discussed expanding deliveries of Russian natural gas via Bulgaria to third countries. (11)

The oil pipeline is intended to bypass the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, where Turkey restricts the passage of oil tankers for ecological and traffic safety reasons. Russia hopes to use the pipeline as part of a complex and costly scheme to control the export flow of Azerbaijani oil due to come on stream in late 1996. It wants that oil piped to Russia’s Black Sea port Novorossiisk, tanked to Burgas, piped again to Alexandroupolis, and finally tanked from there to international markets. Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey advocate a shorter and more cost-effective route from Azerbaijan’s oilfields via Georgia to a Turkish port on the Mediterranean.

Ukraine Completing Arms Cuts Under CFE Treaty on Schedule.