March 6, 2009 / 11:05 AM / 11 years ago

Clinton warns against energy as a political weapon

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the use of energy as a political lever on Friday, a day after Russia threatened to cut gas supplies to Ukraine in a move that would have hit supplies to Europe.

The crisis appeared to have been averted on Thursday after Gazprom said Ukraine had settled payments at the heart of the disagreement, but European leaders were rattled by the warnings by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Clinton condemned Russia’s invasion of Georgia last August, which came close to a key energy pipeline to Europe, and warned against countries using energy for political leverage.

“We are ... troubled by using energy as a tool of intimidation,” she told a hearing at the European Parliament. “We think that’s not in the interest of creating a better and better functioning energy system.”

Reporting by Pete Harrison, editing by Dale Hudson

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