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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Greece, Turkey Inaugurate New Pipeline

TURKISH/GREEK BORDER -- Greece and Turkey on Sunday inaugurated a pipeline that will pump natural gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe, easing the continent's dependence on Russian energy supplies and boosting ties between old rivals.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Costas Karamanlis, his Greek counterpart, shook hands in a symbolic meeting on a bridge over the river Evros, or Meric in Turkish, which separates the two countries.

"We are forming a bridge as an energy transit country," Erdogan said in a speech at a ceremony held at Ipsala on the Turkish side of the border.

The project marks another step forward in boosting ties between two former foes, creating energy partners out of two NATO members who came close to war as recently as 1996.

The pipeline will eventually carry around 12 billion cubic meters of gas a year -- 3 bcm for Greece and the rest for re-export to Europe -- from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field.

The European Union is backing the Greek-Turkish project as it seeks to diversify its energy suppliers and reduce its natural gas dependence on Russia, from where it buys about a quarter of its gas.