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Bulgaria has approached Macedonia with an offer to participate in the construction of the Belene Nuclear Power Plant, after calling on Serbia and Croatia to join the project last week.
Bulgaria's Minister of Economy, Energy, and Tourism, Traicho Traikov, announced that he had sent an official offer to Macedonia's Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Pesevski, following Wednesday's regular weekly meeting of the Cabinet.
"First they have to say if they are interested, and then we can talk numbers," he said.
"We already know that Croatia is not interested in taking part in the construction of the Belene NPP, and Serbia is interested, so now Macedonia has to make a decision on that offer," Traikov added.
Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor on Monday said that her country would not become a shareholder in Belene, while officials in Belgrade have indicated that Serbia is interested in participating, though with a higher share, according to Serbian daily Blic.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov sent official letters to Kosor and Serbian President Boris Tadic last week, inviting their countries to join in the Belene project with shares of 1, 1.5 or 2 per cent.
Borisov said the participation of Croatia and Serbia in the Belene project would make it more pragmatic because the plant would have a guaranteed market once construction is completed.
He asked the two leaders to respond to his offer by November 13, when Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will visit Sofia to discuss energy issues, including the Belene project.
The Kremlin is acutely interested in seeing the project go ahead, as Russian firm Atomstroyexport signed in 2006 a preliminary agreement to construct the plant.
The project has been stalled since the initial agreement was signed. After Bulgaria’s new government came into office in July 2009, it moved to put the project on hold, reassessing the costs and potential benefits to the country.
The project was frozen when several months later a key German investor, RWE, withdrew.
Russia is expected to put pressure on Bulgaria to start the construction of a nuclear power plant at Belene during Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s visit to Sofia, due to start on November 13.
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