Skopje, 2nd August 2012 (MIA) – Inclusion of Macedonia in the „South Stream“ Project and the project for construction of national gas pipeline network are of exceptional strategic importance for the Republic of Macedonia, which will provide for inclusion of Macedonia in the international gas transportation corridors and stable source of gas for the future generations. Partnership with Russia in this field is of essential significance.

This was pointed out by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski, in his interview for ITAR-TASS Russian News Agency, adding that it is expected, in the middle of August, for an expert team from “StroyТrans Gas” to come to Macedonia for the final negotiations and offer for construction of the national gas pipeline network in Macedonia. – We expect for the Agreement to be signed by the end of this year, followed by commencement of the construction of the network. In the meantime, Macedonia undertakes the necessary activities for commencement of the expropriation procedure and obtaining the approvals for construction, Finance Minister said in the interview.

Memorandum of Cooperation with the Russian company “StroyТrans Gas”, which was signed at the beginning of the last month, is the first serious step towards construction of the national gas pipeline network in the country. He pointed out that energy is a sector in which Macedonian-Russian cooperation has achieved significant progress. – In 2010, we managed to close one important issue – agreement was signed on using US$ 60 million from the clearing debt of Russia towards Macedonia for realization of the national gas pipeline network in Macedonia. In the course of this year, at the meeting with Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, President of the Russian Federation, Putin, expressed support and commitment for inclusion of Macedonia in “South Stream” corridor, as well as for impending commencement of the project for gasification of the Republic of Macedonia, in line with the Clearing Debt Agreement. What is favourable is that at the next official visit of Macedonian government delegation already, which followed two weeks later, Russian representatives delivered draft Agreement for inclusion of Macedonia in „South Stream“ corridor. As for the inclusion of Macedonia in „South Stream“, we are considering the draft Agreement we have received. Once it is harmonized and signed, Russian-Macedonian company will be established, in charge of the realization of the gas pipeline branch towards Macedonia, Minister of Finance underlined.

In addition to energy sector, Minister pointed out agriculture, real estate, tourism, mineral raw materials and pharmacology as sectors attractive for the Russian capital. – In light thereof, I would like to emphasize that Macedonia has overcome, to a great extent, the handicap of a small market, for it has signed Free Trade Agreements with all European countries. I hope we will sign such agreement with the Russian Federation as well, which would provide for significant increase of trade, Stavreski emphasized. As for the relations between the two countries, he said that Macedonia and Russia have long tradition of friendship, understanding and cultural closeness. – Both countries, as he said, have mutual interest in and are committed to intensifying the cooperation in the field of politics, economy and culture, and as a result of the mutual commitment, there is an upward trend of cooperation in all fields. As for the economic cooperation, we are moving forward, however, we can do even better in this field, especially as regards trade.

– Large Russian market is a challenge. Macedonia can offer much more on your market, in particular agricultural products, wine and food, as well as pharmaceuticals and other products. Thus, by participating in fairs and through organized appearance of Macedonian companies, we are making efforts to realize the necessary contacts for promotion and distribution of Macedonian products on the Russian market, Minister of Finance said in his interview for ITAR-TASS.

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