Southern Corridor - New Silk Road Summit: extracts from the common press conference by Mirek Topolánek, José Manuel Barroso and Javier Solana
Type: Summary of press conference
End production: 08/05/2009
A summit of the European Union and the Southern Corridor countries was held in Prague today to discuss energy cooperation, in particular the Nabucco gas pipeline.
In addition to the Czech Presidency and the European Commission, the summit was attended by representatives of Azerbaijan, Egypt, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Observers from the USA, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development were also present.
During the summit, Mirek Topolánek, Czech Prime Minister and President in office of the Council, José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan, Mikhail Saakashvili, President of Georgia, Abdullah Gül, President of Turkey and El Saïdi Ali Fahmi, Egyptian Minister for Industry signed a joint declaration that should pave the way for a more intensive cooperation between regions and also between individual states.
The signing was further attended by the representatives of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan who expressed their support for the Southern Corridor project and agreed to the specific inclusion of their countries in the declaration.
Following the summit Mirek Topolánek, José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, and Javier Solana, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union and High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), held a joint press conference to issue the summit results.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||View of the speakers at the rostrum before the audience
||SOUNDBITE Mirek Topolánek, Czech Prime Minister and President in office of the Council (in CZECH): saying why this breakthrough did happen and why was this pioneering? He thinks for the first time in history they have been able to sign together with countries such as Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia and Egypt, as well as the EU and the European Commission, this declaration which is of such a scope that now they need specific steps and projects to flesh it out; saying that he would also mention countries such as Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan; saying that these countries were present as well as a whole series of institutions such as the EIB, the EBRD, the World Bank and observers from the US, Ukraine and Russia.
||Cutaway: the audience
||SOUNDBITE by José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, (in ENGLISH): Russia is and will be in the future our main supplier of energy, namely of gas. That is quite clear and we want to work constructively with Russia. But it is a basic understandable need that we have in Europe which is to increase and have additional resources for the EU. This is also the reason behind this summit, to increase our diversity. By the ways this is also what the countries of Central Asia want. They want to have more diversification of their markets. This is why this summit does not put in question existing contracts that we have already with the Russian company. And we want to make it, as I have said very often to the Russian leadership, and I said today also today in the summit, we want to make this a win-win situation for everybody involved.
||SOUNDBITE by Javier Solana, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union and High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), (in ENGLISH): Energy is a fundamental question for all the Europeans. And therefore to try to find ways in which we can resolve the energy supply to Europe is fundamental. We have been working about that for quite a long time and as it has been said today we have today a document signed by a very important group of countries, suppliers, countries of transit and countries that will at the end help resolve the problems of energy supply the EU has.
||Cutaway: the audience
||SOUNDBITE by José Manuel Barroso (in ENGLISH) on the question of Turkey linking the signature of the Nabucco transit agreement to the energy chapter in EU accession negotiations: yes for Turkey it is very important to progress in the negotiations (EU accession negotiations) but I do not see in the way President Gül has put the issue a kind if conditionality namely a conditionality about the date of the signing of the inter-governmental agreement regarding Nabucco.
||Speakers shaking hands and leaving