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Last Updated: Friday, 19 May 2006, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK
Poland slams Russian fuel policy
By William Horsley
BBC European affairs correspondent

Russian workers laying the Baltic pipeline in February
The Baltic pipeline alarms some of Russia's neighbours
Poland's Defence Minister Radek Sikorski has accused Russia of using its energy reserves as a means of blackmailing its western neighbours.

In a BBC interview, Mr Sikorski said Poland wanted a commercial relationship with Russian energy suppliers, without monopolies, price-fixing or blackmail.

His comments echo concerns raised by US Vice-President Dick Cheney at a recent eastern European regional meeting.

Next week, Russia and the EU will have talks at a Black Sea resort.

Poland has previously criticised Russia for cutting gas supplies to Ukraine in January in a price dispute, and for signing a deal with Germany to build an undersea gas pipeline bypassing Poland.

Poland's Defence Minister Radek Sikorski
We want... no monopolies or blackmails, price-fixing or the use of energy as a tool of politics, or geopolitics
Radek Sikorski

Mr Sikorski recently compared the deal to the pre-World War II Nazi-Soviet pact which carved up Poland.

The $5bn (2.7bn) pipeline, agreed in September 2005, will connect Babayevo in Russia to Greifswald in Germany.

The 1,200km (744-mile) pipeline is now under construction and will deliver Russian gas to Germany - and eventually to other Western European nations - by 2010.

Poland has asked the EU to forge a more coherent common policy on energy in the face of new challenges.

But its proposal for a new Energy Security Treaty, to provide mutual energy security in the same way as the Nato alliance offers protection against military attack, has so far won little public support.


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