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Serbian gov’t to adopt energy deal with Russia - extended

The cabinet will meet in Belgrade today to adopt an agreement on energy cooperation with Russia. Latest news: Serbia agrees to sell Gazprom 51% of NIS.

This was announced late last evening by Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica. “This is Serbia’s biggest economic undertaking, and this agreement will guarantee our country’s huge economic development,” said Koštunica of the deal that at times strained relations within the ruling coalition. While Koštunica’s Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) endorsed the project, senior coalition partners, President Boris Tadić’s Democrats (DS) were not publicly either rejecting or accepting it, while Economy Minister Mlađan Dinkić’s G17 Plus was against the deal “In this way, the government is securing a stable and constant supply of energy for all our citizens and economy for years to come,” the prime minister explained last night. The government’s basic economic goal is to for Serbia to be strong and this strategic agreement with Russia will have exceptional significance in achieving this, Koštunica added. The deal about to be adopted was presented on Dec. 11 in Belgrade, by Minister of Energy and Mining Aleksandar Popović and Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Alekseyev.

On Dec. 29, the cabinet adopted a platform for talks with Russia on a cooperation agreement in the oil and natural gas industries. It has been reported that Russia has offered €400-500 million for a majority stake in the state-run NIS oil monopoly, together with another €500 million in investment in the period ending in 2012. In return, oil and natural gas giant Gazprom would build a segment of its South Stream natural gas pipeline through Serbia. No firm guarantees were provided at the time, however. (B92)

Serbia agreed to sell 51% of NIS to Russia’s natural- gas export monopoly, the government said in an e-mailed statement from Belgrade today reports Bloomberg. Financial terms were not revealed.