Russia says 'no' to Energy Charter, urges new agreement

Russia reaffirmed on Friday it will not ratify the existing Energy Charter and called for a new energy agreement to ensure future global energy security.

Energy security was among the key issues on the agenda of a Russia-EU summit in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk on 22 May.

"We have reaffirmed that we are not going to ratify the Energy Charter, and we are not implementing the Energy Charter Treaty, either," Russian presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich said at a news conference after the summit.

According to Dvorkovich, the European side expressed readiness to discuss the Russian proposals on energy security and agreed that the existing mechanisms do not allow all the problems to be solved.

"It does not matter to us what this new document will be called. It could be a drastically changed Energy Charter, or a new international agreement," the official said, adding that Russia would not accept merely "cosmetic" changes to the existing document.

President Dmitry Medvedev said putting this idea into practice would "clearly meet the interests" of Russia's partners in Europe.

"Energy sector is not a conflict zone, but something that should unite us," Medvedev said. "It is our mutual business, something that ensures a comfortable existence for millions of Europeans."

The president urged EU officials to continue efforts to develop a reliable legal basis for future cooperation in the energy sector with the goal of preventing energy crises similar to the gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine at the turn of the year that left millions of Europeans facing energy shortages.

"The existing agreements, no matter how we view them, do not resolve these issues," Medvedev said.

In response, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the EU understood Russia's concerns and was ready to discuss Russia's proposals for a new international legal basis for energy cooperation.

The original Energy Charter was signed in The Hague on December 17, 1991. By ratifying the treaty, Russia would have to give access to its pipelines for free natural gas transit from Central Asia to the European Union. However, Russian companies would not be able to freely access European pipelines.
RIA Novosti