BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 25 January 2008, 13:19 GMT
Serbia signs Gazprom energy pact
NIS-owned installation (courtesy, NIS archive)
Serbia's energy supplies are now under Russian control
Serbia has handed control of its energy supplies to Russia in a deal signed by the governments of both countries.

Under the agreement, Russia's state-owned gas giant Gazprom will buy 51% of Belgrade's NIS oil monopoly and run a gas pipeline through Serbia.

The financial terms have not been disclosed, but the deal could be worth as much as $2bn (1bn).

The European Union has suggested that the agreement could be politically motivated, but Serbia has denied this.

Russian influence

The deal comes as Gazprom prepares to build a 900-km (550-mile) gas pipeline under the Black Sea from Russia to Bulgaria, with Serbia's backing considered vital to the success of the project.

"Serbia is becoming a key hub in the prospective Russian energy supply to southern Europe," Russia's President Vladimir Putin said.

The deal comes in the midst of a presidential election campaign and amid wrangling over the future of Kosovo, technically still a southern province of Serbia.

Russia has backed Serbia's continued control of the region, while the EU has supported moves for Kosovo to declare its independence.

SEE ALSO
Country profile: Serbia
22 Jan 08 |  Country profiles
EU presidency wants Serbia deal
08 Jan 08 |  Europe
New Russia-Ukraine gas row fears
28 Nov 07 |  Business

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific