SLOVAKIA’S Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Ján Figeľ met Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during a visit to Russia on February 23. High on the agenda of their talks was transport. Figeľ said restoration of flights between Bratislava and Moscow was a very realistic goal, the SITA newswire reported.
During the discussion on a proposed plan to build a broad-gauge railway line across Slovakia, Figeľ stated that a four-party analysis of its extension is underway, with Ukraine, Austria, Russia and Slovakia participating.
“The figures confirmed the technical and legal feasibility of the project, but it is very difficult in terms of its economic and financial aspects,” he said, as quoted by SITA.
Figeľ explained the Slovak government’s reservations about the project by referring to a lack of money for such extensive investments.
He said it was necessary to consider the rate of return and a business plan for the project, which, providing it were rational, banks and the private sector would support.
“If the project is irrational, there is no point in us pouring money into it,” Figeľ said.
The minister also confirmed Slovakia's interest in the modernisation of existing broad-gauge railway tracks, which link Ukraine to eastern Slovakia including Košice, and trans-shipment points in Slovakia.
Figeľ and Putin also discussed energy-sector issues. Figeľ reported that Russia was ready to draw up a new 10-year contract on crude-oil supplies to Slovakia.
Russia is also interested in further investments in the area of nuclear power via projects that are currently underway in Slovakia. Russia is ready not only to continue supplying oil, gas and nuclear fuel but also to improve supplies, SITA wrote.
28. Feb 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff