EU, Iraq Seek To Seal Nabucco Deal Within Weeks - Barroso
by Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa)
April 16, 2008
The European Commission aims to seal a deal on
the import of Iraqi gas via the planned Nabucco pipeline within "a
matter of weeks," the EU executive's chief, Jose Manuel Barroso, said
"The negotiations are going very well," the commission president
said after a meeting in Brussels with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-
Barroso said the talks were at an advanced stage and that he
expected a deal to be sealed within "a matter of some weeks."
The EU currently relies heavily on natural gas from Russia and is
eager to diversify its suppliers. The deal under discussion involves
importing gas from Iraq's vast Ekas field via the Arab Gas Pipeline.
The gas would then reach the heart of Europe through the planned
Nabucco pipeline, which is to run from Turkey to Austria via
Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary.
As the two leaders spoke, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-
Shahristani was holding detailed talks with the EU's energy
commissioner, Andris Piebalgs.
Al-Shahristani is expected to return to Brussels for a conference
taking place at the beginning of May, and EU officials hope that that
occasion will provide an opportunity for the deal to be signed.
Asked by journalists about the security situation back home, al-
Maliki said foreign forces would be asked to withdraw from Iraq once
the country's army and security forces are able to face "all the
"We hope this will be soon," the premier said.
He was speaking a day after more than 60 people were killed and 91
wounded in separate violent incidents around Iraq.
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