Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko has said that Moscow wants the European Union to view the proposed South Stream natural gas pipeline as a part of its transnational pipelines.
He said he will ask European leaders on Wednesday, May 25, in Brussels to consider South Stream a continuation of existing networks so third parties are prohibited from accessing the new pipeline, RIA Novosti reports.
"We create large trans-border gas pipelines but can't sign long-term contracts although the Europeans themselves are not against long-term agreements," he said. "We propose that the EU consider South Stream as a continuation of our trans-border trunk gas pipelines and ban the access of third parties to it."
About 80 percent of the Russian natural gas bound for European markets transits Ukraine.
South Stream is planned to move more than 2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to Europe per year after it passes through the Turkish waters of the Black Sea. Gas flows are expected by 2015.