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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Romania Soliciting Gas, Oil

Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase said Thursday that his nation was interested in securing Russian gas supplies and participating in construction of oil and gas pipelines to Yugoslavia and Italy.

Nastase arrived in Moscow on Thursday for talks with his counterpart Mikhail Kasyanov and for the opening of a bilateral business forum including 100 Romanian companies. The aims of his trip were to drum up trade and investment opportunities and pave the way for a visit by Romanian President Ion Iliescu in April.

Nastase met with the head of natural gas monopoly Gazprom, Alexei Miller, who welcomed a project to increase the capacity of a transit pipeline through Romania and said it would allow Gazprom to adhere to promised deliveries to third countries.

"Romania is an important country for the transit of Russian gas to Turkey and Balkan countries," Miller said after the meeting, according to a Gazprom statement.

Before his meeting with Kasyanov, Nastase said the talks would include "plans to build gas pipelines to transport gas to Yugoslavia and eventually to Italy," Itar-Tass reported. He also expressed interest in getting Russian gas.

Nastase said Romania wanted to export oil-processing equipment, furniture, clothing, wine and agricultural products to Russia and that Romanian construction companies were interested in competing for business. "There are regions in Russia where Romanian goods used to be in great demand, and we want to restore our positions there," Itar-Tass quoted Nastase as saying.

After the talks, Kasyanov said the two countries would soon sign a broad cooperation agreement, but he gave no details.

Kasyanov told a press conference that Romania's possible entry to NATO did not hinder Thursday's discussions. Russia strongly opposes NATO's expansion to include former communist bloc nations. "Russia's position is well known. It is the sovereign right of the Romanian people to make a decision on this issue," Kasyanov said. But he added: "The world is changing, and those goals that potential NATO members are setting before themselves may soon disappear."