Russian-Georgian energy cooperation will intensify further, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said in a traditional radio interview today commenting on his recent meeting with US Presidential Energy Advisor Steven Mann. The meeting that was held on June 6, 2003, focused on the unacceptability of long-term collaboration between Georgia and Gazprom, as it would impede the operation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum gas pipeline. The signing of an agreement on collaboration with Gazprom was scheduled for mid June. The agreement provides for setting up a new Georgian-Russian company GruzRosGazprom, that will receive control over Georgian gas pipelines. It is supposed to be in charge of upgrading Georgian backbone gas pipelines, supplying Georgia with Russian gas and also transporting gas via Georgia to eastern Turkey and Armenia.
According to Shevardnadze, Georgia will fulfill its international obligations, and there is no threat whatsoever either to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan or the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipelines.