September 8, 2008

Cheney Cautions Europe on Russian Energy

Vice President Dick Cheney repeated a warning Monday that an aggressive Russia should not be allowed to dominate Europe's energy supply.

Cheney was visiting Rome in the home stretch of a four-nation tour of Europe that included stops in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine and was launched after Russia's military incursion into Georgia last month.

The vice president presented his concerns to President Giorgio Napolitano prior to Tuesday's meeting with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Europe's dependence on Russia for oil and natural gas has some strategists worried that Moscow will soon be in a position to dominate the pipelines that Europe will rely on.

The Financial Times said the United States is particularly concerned about South Stream, a massive gas pipeline project launched by Russia's Gazprom and Italy's Eni, which is partly owned by the Italian government. The Bush administration is urging Europe to embrace a competing pipeline proposal that would run outside Russia's boundaries.