West should not depend on Russia for energy: Brown

By RIA Novosti,

Moscow : British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said the West should not be dependent on Russia for energy supplies, the Observer newspaper reported Sunday.

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“No nation can be allowed to exert an energy stranglehold over Europe,” said Brown, adding that he would take action to stop Britain “sleepwalking into an energy dependence on less stable or reliable partners.”

Brown’s words came a day after what he called a “frank” phone conversation with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ahead of a European Union (EU) emergency meeting in Brussels Monday on the recent conflict between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia.

Brown argued for additional funding to construct a pipeline from the Caspian Sea carrying gas through Turkey to the West. This would go around the traditional supply route through Russia and neighbouring ex-Soviet republics.

Some analysts had suggested that the Nabucco pipeline project, a planned natural gas pipeline that will transport natural gas from Turkey to Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary, could be put in jeopardy by the recent conflict in Georgia.

At the EU summit Monday, the organisation is expected to promise to send peace monitors to Georgia. They are also to review ties and relations with Russia in the light of the Georgia crisis.

The recent conflict between Russia and Georgia began Aug 8 when Georgian forces attacked breakaway South Ossetia.

Russia mounted an operation to expel Georgian troops from the rebel region, and then pushed on into parts of Georgia proper.

Moscow announced the end of its operation “to force Georgia to peace” Aug 12.

Moscow recognised Georgia’s breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, despite warnings from Western leaders not to do so.