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State Minister Bendukidze Comments on Trunk Gas Pipe
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 30 Mar.'06 / 19:53

State Minister for Economic Reforms Kakha Bendukidze told lawmakers on March 30 that the Georgian government is holding “neither formal nor informal talks” with any interested party in the privatization of Georgia’s trunk gas pipeline, including the Russian power giant Gazprom.

But Bendukidze reiterated that his “personal position” still remains in favor of privatization; however the Minister added that his “personal position” does not reflect the position of the Georgian government.

“It is my personal position that whom the pipeline belongs to is not important. The most important thing is the gas flowing in this pipeline … and recent sabotage [when two gas pipes were blown up in Russia’s North Ossetia] has further strengthened my position over this issue,” Bendukidze said.

“However, the government’s position is that, presently, it is carrying out no negotiations over this issue. No talks are being carried out today and no talks have been carried out recently,” Bendukidze said.

He was summoned by the opposition lawmakers to a parliamentary session to brief the MPs about the government’s position over a possible privatization of the country’s major gas pipeline system.

Bendukidze also told lawmakers that even if the government decides to privatize the gas pipelines it is the Parliament who has the final say over this issue.

“You know that there is a law which defines those facilities which are regarded as strategic and this pipeline is among them. So if the government decides to privatize them the law should be amended, therefore the final decision will always depend on the Georgian Parliament,” Bendukidze said.

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