More than 40 countries last week signed a European energy charter designed to steer foreign money and expertise into energy development in eastern Europe and republics of the former Soviet Union. A key provision will ensure that non-Soviet companies can repatriate profits and protect them from expropriation. The charter, brainchild of Netherlands and signed in The Hague, sets out principles that will be fleshed out as protocols covering various aspects of energy are agreed on sector by sector. Negotiating the sectors, including the one on hydrocarbons, is expected to take at least 1 year. Protocol Four, covering hydroca...

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