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5 East European Countries Sign Pipeline Accord


Five East European countries have agreed to build an oil pipeline linking the Black Sea and Baltic Sea.

Officials of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania signed the agreement Wednesday in Lithuania's capital Vilnius.

The document calls for building an almost 500-kilometer long extension of the Odessa-Brody pipeline in Ukraine northward to the Polish port of Gdansk. The extension would secure steady supplies of Azerbaijan's crude oil from the Caspian through the Black Sea to countries in the Baltic area.

The Baltic countries do not have significant energy links with other Europe Union states and are heavily dependent on Russian energy sources.

The signing of the accord coincides with a two-day summit, Wednesday and Thursday of Central and Eastern European heads of state and energy sector leaders.

Meanwhile, the Baltic countries and Poland have postponed the signing of an agreement on construction of a nuclear power plant in Lithuania. The plant is to replace the Ignalina facility to be shut down in 2009 under agreements with the European Union.

Poland and Lithuania also delayed signing an accord on construction of lines linking the electricity systems of the two countries.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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