Richard Lugar calls on Europe to commit to construction of Nabucco gas pipeline

US Senator Richard Lugar called on European leaders to act on energy security at the September 1 emergency EU summit on the Georgian crisis called by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"The conflict in Georgia cannot be separated from Europe’s dangerous dependence on natural gas from Russia. In fact, the conflict in Georgia makes it all the more important for European leaders to act on energy security. Commitment to energy diversification, including new pipelines circumventing Russian soil, is essential to the security of our European allies," Lugar said.

"Europe must commit to construction of the critical Nabucco gas pipeline. Nabucco is intended to be the final link connecting Caspian energy resources with European consumers, but it is being challenged by the Russian-backed alternatives". "Reluctant European governments must be convinced that alternative supplies are in their long-term security interests. Failure to complete the Nabucco pipeline would be significant blow to European security, and challenge unity in the trans-Atlantic community," Lugar said.

"The Kremlin and Gazprom have shut off energy supplies to six different countries during the last several years, most recently to the Czech Republic. These energy cutoffs were efforts at Russian intimidation and demonstrate the willingness of Russia to use its commanding energy export position to back its demands for foreign policy or economic policy concessions. The events this month in Georgia have not only focused attention on the need for energy diversification but also for European unity in discussing it," Lugar said.

[Source: APA, Washington, 29Aug08]

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