TURKEY RUSSIA DIPLOMACY.jpg
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) sit next to each other as they meet on the sidelines of the 23rd World Energy Congress, in Istanbul, Turkey, 10 October 2016.
Photograph: EPA/TOLGA BOZOGLU

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, signed an agreement on Monday to build the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline to carry Russian gas to south-eastern Europe.

"The agreement provides for the construction of two lines of the main pipeline across the bottom of the Black Sea," the head of Russia's gas export monopoly, Gazprom, said in comments carried by Russian state news agency TASS.

The lines should be built by the end of 2019, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said. The pipeline is planned to carry Russian gas to Turkey and possibly European Union member state Greece.

Putin was in Istanbul to address the World Energy Congress and meet with his Turkish counterpart as their countries repair damaged relations.

In a speech to the World Energy Congress, Putin said earlier that Russia was ready to join members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in limiting production of crude oil, as exporters look to prop up prices for the commodity.

"We believe that a freeze or even a reduction in the production of oil is probably the only appropriate decision for maintaining [the] sustainability of global energy," Putin said in comments carried by TASS.

Earlier this year, Russia and OPEC's de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, the world's two largest oil suppliers, made a conditional pledge to limit oil production.

That pledge contributed to some price growth but failed to significantly reverse a rout that has devastated oil-dependent economies in recent years.

"A production freeze can at best only support the price of Brent [crude oil] at around 50 US dollars per barrel" where it is currently trading, said Chris Weafer, senior partner at Russian-focused investment consultancy Macro Advisory, in a Monday note to investors.

It was Putin's first time in Istanbul since Turkish-Russian relations were frayed last year when a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian warplane on the Syrian border.

The conflict in Syria, where Russia and Turkey support opposing sides, figured in a private conversation between the leaders on Monday, Putin said in comments to the press.

In a further sign of reviving relations, Turkey announced on Sunday that it agreed to sign a deal to create a billion-dollar investment fund with Russia to "boost relations in many areas, such as tourism, energy, agriculture and transport," Turkish state news outlet Anadolu Agency reported.

Latest news

Residents in northern Greece oppose refugee children attending school

There were renewed clashes between angry residents and police in the northern Greek town of Oreokastro on Monday, where some locals have for months opposed children from a nearby refugee centre being taught at the local school.

Germany, France slam Russia's acceptance of Ukrainian rebel passports

EU member states Germany and France, which have been seeking to mitigate the conflict between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine, on Monday broadly condemned Russia's recognition of rebel-issued passports.

Stier says Croatia strongly supports Kosovo, calls for enhancing economic cooperation

The Croatian minister announced a closer economic cooperation with Kosovo.

Afghanistan demands Pakistan hand over militants, shut training camps

The Afghan government has demanded that Pakistan hand over terrorists operating on its soil and close tens of terrorist training camps, the Foreign Ministry in Kabul said Monday.

Four Russian servicemen in Syria killed in vehicle bombing

Four Russian servicemen were killed and two others injured when a remote-controlled bomb exploded under their vehicle in Syria's western Homs region, Russian state media reported Monday, citing the Defence Ministry.

Iraqi forces advance in Mosul as US Defence Secretary visits Baghdad

Iraqi forces pressed on with their offensive to dislodge the extremist Islamic State militia from their stronghold in northern Iraq, as US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis landed in Baghdad on an unannounced official visit.

Denmark registers sharp drop in asylum bids in 2016

Denmark saw asylum bids in 2016 drop by two-thirds compared to the previous year, the Scandinavian country's statistics agency said Monday.

Zagreb businessman goes on retrial for causing accident at sea

Zagreb businessman Tomislav Horvatincic (70) on Monday went on retrial for causing an accident at sea five and a half years ago in which an Italian couple were killed.

French, Croatian students working together on Dalmatian islands project

A HRK 16 million Horizon 2020 agriculture project on which French and Croatian students will work together was launched at the Split School of Economics on Monday.

Croatian National Tourist Board director requests to be relieved of duty

The director of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ), Ratomir Ivicic, on Monday requested to be relieved of his duties and a call for applications for this post will be published in a month.

Petrokemija posts HRK 87.3m loss in 2016

The Petrokemija artificial fertiliser manufacturer made HRK 1.93 billion in revenues in 2016, expenditures were HRK 2.02 billion and the loss was HRK 87.3 million, down 5.6% on the year, the Kutina-based plant said on Monday.

Wigemark says election legislation amendments of utmost importance for Bosnia

Wigemark said that amending the election legislation and continuing the process for joining the EU were the most important political processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.