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EU calls for urgent talks on Belarus-Russia gas price dispute

A solution to a dispute between Belarus and Russia over the pricing of gas imports must be found urgently to avoid disrupting supplies to the European Union, Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said.

„The Commission is following the situation very closely since it may affect gas supplies to the European Union,” said Piebalgs in an e-mailed statement today. „I call on the two parts to reach as soon as possible a satisfactory agreement.”

Negotiations between the Belarusian authorities and OAO Gazprom of Russia, the world's biggest gas producer, were resumed by telephone today after Belarus broke them off on December 26. That followed a demand by the Russian company that Belarus gives up half of Beltransgaz, the country's pipeline operator, in exchange for preferential pricing until 2011. (Bloomberg)