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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Russia Ready to Be Europe's Leading Oil and Gas Supplier - Presidential Aide

Igor Shuvalov / Photo from www.vybory.net23.05.2006 MosNews - Russia is ready to assume a leadership role in providing Europe with oil and gas, but it won't use its energy resources as an instrument of political pressure, presidential aide Igor Shuvalov said on Tuesday, May 23. "We are ready to provide Europe with oil and gas in a long-term perspective, and we will assume a role of the leader," he said in an interview with Nezavisimaya gazeta (Independent gazette) published on Tuesday. President Putin's aide went on to say that Russia will continue its expansion further, regardless of whether its European partners like it or not. "If they want to — we can do it together with the European energy companies. But we will lead the way, that is already clear," he said. "We are saying to Europe: you lead in one thing. We have taken up a leadership role in another and we are doing it with a share of risk for ourselves, but so far we are doing it successfully," Shuvalov added. He went on to say that Russia won't use oil and gas as a political instrument of blackmail. "We don't want a situation in which we will say that the market will be this way and not another. We have not used and have no plans to use oil and gas as a political instrument of blackmail," he said. Igor Shuvalov added that in his view it is completely normal that Russia wants to diversify its sales markets, while Europe is striving for diversification of energy sources. "We are saying to them: if you do not agree with our concept of energy security, we will behave in the same way as you do. If you continue to search for other contacts to buy energy sources from third countries, then we will look for other markets, such as building a pipeline to China," the presidential aide said.

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