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Belarus issues new gas threat

06-26-2010 09:03 BJT

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Belarus has issued a new threat to halt Russia's oil and gas deliveries to Europe unless it pays a disputed debt. But Russian leaders have ignored the warning and say they consider the energy dispute closed.

On Friday, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko gave Russia until Saturday to pay the gas transit fees Moscow owes to Minsk, or face the shutdown of all its oil and gas shipments to Europe via Belarus.

Gazprom's chief executive, Alexei Miller, refuses to comment on the threats, saying only that Russia considers the gas dispute closed.

Gazprom insists it has paid the transit fees under the current contract and now owes nothing to Belarus.

Gazprom fully resumed gas supplies to Belarus on Thursday, after it confirmed the receipt of some 187 million US dollars from Minsk.

Gazprom also says it expects to sign a corresponding supplement to the contract with Belarus very soon.

On the same day, Belarus Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko said Gazprom officials are arriving in Minsk on Monday for talks, and that a deal could be signed by Wednesday.

Belarus argued that it paid off its gas debt calculated at an increased rate sought by Moscow, and raised transit costs accordingly. Russia, meanwhile, has paid for transit at the old rate, leaving an outstanding amount of 32 million US dollars.

Belarus warned it would cut Russian gas transit supplies to Europe on Thursday if Russia didn't pay the money, but it didn't carry out the threat.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source:

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