The European Commission intends to hold negotiations with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan regarding the establishment of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, Azerbaijani Energy Minister Natik Aliyev said in Baku on October 21, the local media reported.
Aliyev said that EU Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger proposed to hold the next round of talks with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan in Brussels.
The negotiations on Trans-Caspian gas pipeline between the EU, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have begun in September 2011. In July 2013, the framework agreement was inked between Turkmenistan and Turkey on cooperation in the sphere of Turkmen natural gas supply to Turkey and Europe.
The project of laying the 300-kilometer gas pipeline across the bottom of the Caspian Sea to the shores of Azerbaijan is considered optimal for the delivery of Turkmen energy resources to the European market throughout Turkey.
Officials in Ashgabat believe that consent of Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan is enough for laying pipes under the Caspian Sea, which legal status is still undetermined. Azerbaijan has expressed readiness to provide its territory, transit opportunities and infrastructure for implementation of the project.
Russia opposes the construction of this pipeline. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the European Commission shouldn't influence the construction of Trans-Caspian pipelines, and stressed that these issues should be solved among the five Caspian countries – Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.