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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Moldova inaugurates new gas pipeline, will get gas from Romania to lessen dependence on Russia

CHISINAU, Moldova - A new pipeline has been opened that will pump gas from Romania to Moldova in an attempt to reduce the former Soviet republic's dependence on Russian energy.

The prime ministers of the two countries inaugurated the pipeline Wednesday. Moldova's Iurie Leanca said it means "we can be sure that nobody can create problems for us or threaten us."

The opening of the pipeline was seen as a symbolic moment and came on Moldova's national day, 23 years since it declared independence in the wake of the break-up of the Soviet Union.

However, the 43-kilometre (28-mile) pipeline will provide only 5 per cent of its gas needs and won't be enough for full independence. Moldova will continue to be reliant on Russian gas coming through Ukraine and has had cutoffs in the past.

It cost 26 million euros ($35 million) to build, some of which was funded by the European Union. EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger was present for the opening of the pipeline near the southern Moldovan town of Ungheni.

Moldova is seeking funds to build the pipeline through to the capital and get all its gas from Romania. The government signed a trade agreement with the European Union in June, angering Russia.

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