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5 countries to sign declaration on pan-European oil pipeline construction

Slovenia and other four countries would sign a ministerial declaration on the construction of a pan-European oil pipeline connecting Romania's Constanta and Italy's Trieste, said reports reaching Belgrade from Slovenia on Thursday.

The Slovenian government authorized on Thursday its Economy Minister Andrej Vizjak to sign the declaration, which would be signed in the Croatian capital Zagreb on April by ministers from Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Italy and EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, the Slovenian national news agency STA reported. The declaration will be the first document to enable work on developing the pan-European oil pipeline construction project after three years of negotiations between the governments of five countries.

The project of the pan-European oil pipeline is still in its initial stage, with the involved countries deciding to express their positive political will in order to attract investors, said the reports. The pipeline, which is expected to be completed after 2011, is to enable direct transport of oil from the Black Sea and the Caspian Basin to refineries in Italy's Trieste and Genoa. The ministerial declaration was drafted by the European Commission after the commission as well as Slovenia rejected in 2006 the signing of a legally binding memorandum on support for the project which ran contrary to EU law. (