Serbia signs gas deal with Russia

Oil monopoly to be sold to Russia's state-owned Gazprom in politically contentious deal.

     Tadic, left, and Medvedev (R) signed the energy agreement in Moscow on Wednesday [EPA]

    Alexander Dyukov, the Gazprom Neft president, said that his company would need to seek approval of Serbia's anti-monopoly agency for the deal to buy NIS, the Russian Interfax news agency reported.
    Dyukov said the Serbian agency has 130 days to consider the request, meaning the deal will be completed by May.
    Serbians divided
    While the deal, which extends Russia's influence in eastern Europe, was welcomed in the Kremlin, it has divided policymakers in Serbia, even triggering the resignation of Mladjan Dinkic, the economy minister.
    Critics say Russia has given no firm guarantees that it will build the natural gas pipeline, called South Stream, by 2015.
    The $13bn pipeline under the Black Sea would carry Russian natural gas to Bulgaria and Serbia before branching out to points in western Europe.
    Dinkic and other pro-Western politicians fear that Russia's takeover of Serbia's energy sector will dramatically increase Moscow's political influence in the small country.
    They also say the $550 million for NIS is too low and that the deal is a payback for Russia's support of Serbia's bid to retain its claim to the breakaway province of Kosovo, which declared independence in February.
    Igor Sechin, the Russian deputy prime minister rejected that, saying the deal involved a "market price".

    SOURCE: Agencies


    From Zimbabwe to England: A story of war, home and identity

    The country I saw as home, my parents saw as oppressors

    What happens when you reject the identity your parents fought for and embrace that of those they fought against?

    Becoming Ocean: When you and the world are drowning

    Becoming Ocean: When you and the world are drowning

    One woman shares the story of her life with polycystic kidney disease and sees parallels with the plight of the planet.

    The evening death came for me: My journey with PTSD

    The evening death came for me: My journey with PTSD

    On a gorgeous Florida evening, a truck crashed into me. As I lay in intensive care, I learned who had been driving it.