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Turkey says agreement reached over Nabucco

TURKEY and several European countries have reached a deal over the terms of the Nabucco gas project, a proposed pipeline meant to supply Europe with gas, and will sign an intergovernmental agreement in Ankara on July 13, its foreign ministry said yesterday.

Turkey has been negotiating gas transit fees and other issues with Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria, with the participation of Germany, since January.

"An agreement has been reached during last month's meeting," the foreign ministry said in a statement, without elaborating.

Details of the deal were not available.

However, United States energy officials had said Turkey could drop a demand to use 15 percent of the gas to be transmitted for domestic consumption.

The US strongly supports Nabucco - which is to link the Caspian Sea region, Mideast and Egypt to the European Union via Turkey.

Nabucco is designed to reduce the European Union's dependence on Russian natural gas, but the project has yet to secure suppliers to make it viable.

Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, returning from Moscow last week, said Turkey was waiting for a response from Azerbaijan on a Turkish proposal to supply gas to the project.

Russia clinched a major new natural gas deal with Azerbaijan in late June, striking a blow to Nabucco.


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