Prodi Turns Down South Stream Job

ROME -- Italy's outgoing prime minister, Romano Prodi, has declined President Vladimir Putin's offer to head Gazprom's South Stream pipeline project, an Italian Cabinet source said Monday.

A source in Prodi's office said: "He is not interested."

Prodi was to meet with the chief executives of Gazprom and Eni on Monday, and Kommersant said he would be offered the job, mirroring former German Chancellor Gerhard SchrЪder's appointment to Gazprom's Nord Stream pipeline.

Prodi hands over power to media mogul Silvio Berlusconi in a few days' time after his centre-left party lost Italy's mid-April election.

Kommersant had reported that Prodi, 68, would be offered the job at lunch on Monday with chief executives Alexei Miller of Gazprom and Paolo Scaroni of Eni.

Scaroni said in a statement earlier in the day that Prodi would be "an excellent choice" to head South Stream.