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Tbilisi loses its levers over Tskhinvali2009-04-09 15:50
As early as this summer, Tskhinvali will receive Russian gas along a pipeline from North Ossetia. Russia's Deputy Minister for Regional Development, Roman Panov, reported this a few days ago.
"The gas will arrive in July, and we will connect consumers," RIA Novosti cites Panov. "Work is currently being carried out on the thirtieth kilometre of pipe, the total length of which is 80 kilometres." According to him, the gas pipeline is not being laid in typical conditions, although the constructers are keeping to the planned timetable.
The Dzuarikau-Tskhinvali gas pipeline should become the highest in the world: it will go through the Kudari Pass at a height of 3148 metres. It may seem improbable, but Russia simply had no other choice: the infamous story of the gas blockade of South Ossetia, which receives Russian gas by transit through Georgia, made them think about constructing a gas pipeline which excludes unreliable intermediaries.
Tskhinvali, meanwhile, has not even tried to hide its joys over Panov's news. "Today I would like to express my enormous gratitude to Russia for the active work that it is carrying out," Osinform news agency quotes the republic's President Eduard Kokoity. "As far as the gas coming from Georgia is concerned, then of course we will turn down this expensive pleasure, because the transportation of Russian gas through Georgia costs us three times more." According to Kokoity, it will not be difficult for the republic to bring gas to the Leningori region through its own devices, where there is also a gas distribution system. "And we have to supply all the other regions of South Ossetia with gas, we have a long term plan from 2010-2012. Again we will discuss all these issues with Russia. The possibility of putting other forms of communication into operation, including in the energy sector, will also be discussed, so that their implementation is carried out jointly with the Russian Federation. We understand the situation that we are in and the state of our distribution pipelines - they need to be repaired and restored." At the same time, Kokoity reiterated that many supply lines have not been repaired for a long time, and some were damaged during the August events. "It is very important and necessary to divide up and distribute the gas," concluded the president. Kokoity made his statement at the first session held at the headquarters providing help towards the construction of the Dzuarikau-Tskhinvali gas pipeline. The fact that such a meeting was organized suggests that South Ossetia is paying heightened attention to its gas supply. Furthermore, at the session the South Ossetian leader presented Gazprom's special representative Alan Kodzaev with the Order of Friendship, which is a significant event in itself.