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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Criticizes Pipeline Plan

PARIS -- U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said Monday that an agreement to build a new Caspian pipeline to carry Central Asian gas via Russia would harm Europe.

"That would not be good for Europe," Bodman said.

"It would fly in the face of what is needed, which is the diversity of suppliers," he said at a news conference in Paris, adding that Europeans should adjust their response accordingly.

Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan agreed Saturday to build the natural gas pipeline around the Caspian Sea, a move that bolsters Russia's dominance over the region's gas exports.

The new pipeline and an accompanying deal to upgrade existing Soviet-era infrastructure are a setback to U.S., European and Chinese hopes of prying the flow of Central Asian gas out of Russian hands.

The West has expressed fears that Russia is using its vast energy and other natural resources to assert its influence across the continent, an accusation the Kremlin rejects.