Russia is interested in partnership and cooperation in the field of energy with countries of South-eastern Europe, but also with Europe as a whole while respecting high ecological standards, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in the Croatian capital Zagreb.
Addressing a Balkan energy summit in Zagreb, President Putin said that Russia has always had good relations with Balkan countries, and good economic and political links are important for stability and security in the region, the Serbian official news agency Tanjug reported.
President Putin, who arrived in Zagreb on Sunday as a special guest invited by Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, said he expected that, along with an open dialog, precise directives would be outlined for cooperation among Russia, the region and the European Union in the field of energy and transport of energy sources.
"The strategic goal of our joint work in the field is to achieve that energy sources be made available and guaranteed to all countries in the region," President Putin said.
Russia, "one of the world's leaders in the production and delivery of energy, should do everything to solve the energy problems of the region," he said.
Russia's gas deliveries to South Eastern and Southern Europe stood at 73 billion cubic meters while oil deliveries amounted to 59 million tons last year.
President Putin also called for a project to create a Black Sea electric energy ring.
"A project to synchronize the energy systems of Western, Central and Southern Europe with the energy systems of CIS and Baltic states is important. Its implementation would allow creating the Black Sea electric energy ring which would link all European countries in the Black Sea region," President Putin said, adding that it would allow formulating the main aspects of a common energy market.
Russian energy companies "are ready for detailed talks on their participation in the privatization and modernization of generating companies in the countries of the region," President Putin said, referring to the construction of a thermoelectric power plant in Macedonia and the modernization of an electric power plant in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
President Putin said that the memorandum of understanding signed last December between Gazprom and Serbia on a main pipeline to cross the territory of the Balkan country is an important step towards continuous deliveries of Russian gas to the Balkans.
"Russia is interested in continuing talks on gas sales and further using the transit capacities of the region, as well as the construction of underground gas storage facilities in a number of Balkan states," President Putin said.
"The gasification of Macedonia and the extension of pipeline networks to Albania, South Serbia and Kosovo are interesting as well," he said.
Initiated by Mesic, the energy summit is focused on the review of current energy problems and energy supply, as well as efforts to formulate the principles of behaviour in the field of energy.
Taking part in the meeting, besides the host Mesic and President Putin, are seven Presidents: President Alfred Moisiu of Albania, President Georgi Parvanov of Bulgaria, President Branko Crvenkovski of Macedonia, President Filip Vujanovic of Montenegro, President Traian Basescu of Romania, President Boris Tadic of Serbia, as well as Nebojsa Radmanovic, rotating Chairman
of Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency.
Slovenia is represented by Ziga Turk, minister in charge of strategic development, Greece by Anastasios Nerantzis who is the deputy development minister, and the European Commission by Cristobal Burgos-Alonso, advisor at the Directorate-General for Energy and Transport, Conventional Energies.