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Russia resume gas supply to Belarus

06-25-2010 08:24 BJT

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Russia is again providing gas to Belarus, after paying off transit debts in an effort to ease fears of supply cuts to the European Union. But Minsk says its problems with Moscow are not yet fully resolved.

Russia's state-owned fuel monopoly, Gazprom, says it has resumed fuel deliveries to Belarus.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin adds that a new round of talks will be needed, after calling a meeting of his country's top energy officials on Thursday.

Vladimir Putin, Russian Prime Minister, said, "We regret this hugely, because it's a conflict with a Republic -- a country that holds special relations with Russia. In addition to that, I would like to point out that the Belarusian partners are receiving Russian natural gas at the lowest possible prices. No consumers of Russian gas enjoy prices lower than those."

Russia triggered the dispute last week by saying Belarus owed a debt for fuel deliveries, and then started to reduce supplies on Monday.

Minsk settled the bill two days later, and threatened to cut off Russian oil and gas flows to Europe if Gazprom did not pay off its own cumulative transit costs. Officials said the energy provider owed 260 million US dollars, but had only sent in 228 million, to that point.

In the aftermath of that threat, Belarus said it was still waiting for confirmation of the company's fee remittances on Thursday.

Vladimir Semashko, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister, said, "If, indeed, we get confirmation that 228 million dollars have been paid, then we can make two conclusions -- the most important being that Gazprom agrees everything that happened during the last three days was absolutely illegal, unfounded, and against the contract."

The Deputy Prime Minister also warned that, if the full amount was not paid by 1 PM local time on Thursday, Belarus would still reduce the fuel flow to Europe.

Russia supplies the continent with 25 percent of its gas needs. Four-fifths of that amount goes across Ukraine, while the remainder passes through Belarus.

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CCTV.com

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