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Czech Premier Urges EU To Reduce Dependence On Russian Energy At RFE/RL-ISW Energy Forum Opening

(Prague, Czech Republic--October 23, 2006) Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek today urged the European Union to reduce its dependence on Russian oil and gas supplies. During a news conference on the sidelines of the RFE/RL-ISW Energy Forum, Topolanek stressed that the Czech Republic was the only member of the Visegrad Four to have made this strategic decision. Topolanek, who also addressed the conference, asserted that Russia was using its energy supplies as a political tool to pursue geopolitical aims.

The RFE/RL-ISW Energy Forum runs today and tomorrow (October 23-24) at RFE/RL's broadcast headquarters in Prague. It has gathered leading experts and academics from Europe, the United States, and the former Soviet Union to discuss energy and its role in stability and security.

The Energy Forum is a partnership between RFE/RL and the Warsaw-based Institute for Eastern Studies (ISW).

Topolanek also said that new "nuclear technology" will play a significant role in satisfying Europe's future energy needs, although the Czech Republic does not plan to build new nuclear reactors in foreseeable future.

He added that, while Czech nuclear power plants currently depend on Russia for fuel, he did not consider this a security risk because other suppliers could be found should the need arise.

For further information, please visit RFE/RL's website; a conference program, participant list and other details on the Energy Forum may be accessed here; RFE/RL coverage of Energy Policy in Russia and the Caspian Sea Region can also be found on our English-language website.