Putin's Press Secretary: No Visit to Bulgaria in November

Energy | September 13, 2012, Thursday // 18:24|  views

Russian Atomstroyexport has cautioned that Bulgaria faces huge penalties for the termination of the Belene NPP project. Photo by BGNES

The agenda of Russian President Vladimir Putin does not contain a November 9 visit to Bulgaria, according to Dmitriy Peskov, press secretary of Russia's head of state.

"The approved schedule of visits of the President contains no such visit, which does not mean that contacts within diplomatic channels will not continue," Peskov said, as cited by RIA Novosti and Bulgarian Sega daily.

Earlier on Thursday, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov announced that Vladimir Putin would visit Sofia on November 9, suggesting that the Russian President was facing quite an unpleasant trip to Bulgaria if he had been informed about the increased EUR 1 B claim of Russia's Atomstroyexport against Bulgaria's NEK over the cancelled Belene NPP project.

Borisov noted that the documents for the South Stream gas pipeline were to be signed during the November 9 meeting with Putin.

Bulgaria's Prime Minister defined the increased claim as "a treacherous attack", yet reminding that Bulgaria and Russia had been friends for centuries and would stay friends for centuries.

The contract for the construction of the 2000-MW Belene NPP was signed in 2006 with Russian state company Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Rosatom, by the coalition Cabinet of PM Sergey Stanishev.

However, the construction made little congress because of constant price haggling between Bulgaria and Russia, and in 2009 German company RWE, which was supposed to provide EUR 2 B for the project as a strategic investor, pulled out.

The Borisov Cabinet, which took over in 2009, technically continued the search for strategic investors but in March 2012 it announced it was ending the Belene NPP, labeling it "economically unfeasible".

The case of Bulgaria having to reimburse Atomstroyexport for scrapping plans to build a second Nuclear Power Plant, NPP, in the Danube town of Belene is tried by the International Court of Arbitration in Paris.

Rosatom, a subsidiary of Atomstroyexport, the Russian contractor selected to build the Belene NPP, filed a lawsuit for EUR 58 M against Bulgaria's NEK at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris in the summer of 2011.

On Tuesday, Atomstroyexport, cited by the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS, announced that it was upping the claim over the early termination of the project by the Bulgarian government and the expired agreement from November 2006.

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Tags: Atomstroyexport, Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin, Russian President, Belene NPP, claim, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov


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