Russia, EU sign gas transit monitoring pact
www.chinaview.cn 2009-01-11 00:03:33   Print


°§Russia and EU took a step towards the resumption of Russian gas supplies to Europe.
°§Putin expressed the hope that Ukraine will sign the deal on Saturday.
°§Putin reiterated that gas shipments to Europe will resume as soon as the observers get down to work.

    MOSCOW, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Russia and the European Union (EU) on Saturday took a step towards the resumption of Russian gas supplies to Europe as the two sides signed a protocol to set up an international commission to monitor Russian gas transit via Ukraine.

    The agreement, which has yet to be signed by Ukraine to come into force, was endorsed by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, Russian gas monopoly Gazprom's CEO Alexei Miller and Czech Industry and Trade Minister Martin Riman.

Russia and the European Union (EU) on Saturday signed a protocol to create a mechanism to monitor gas transit through Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Czech Republic's Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek in Novo Ogaryovo outside Moscow January 10, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
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    Russian and EU officials approved the deal following Saturday's meeting between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Czech counterpart Mirek Topolanek, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

    Under the agreement, the international commission will include representatives of Gazprom, Ukraine's energy giant Naftogaz, Russian and Ukrainian energy ministries, the European Commission, European companies receiving the Russian gas, and international monitoring organizations.

    At a press conference after talks with Topolanek, Putin expressed the hope that Ukraine will sign the deal on Saturday. "I assume that this agreement will be signed in Kiev and I see no grounds for not doing so," he said.

    The Russian prime minister reiterated that gas shipments to Europe will resume as soon as the observers get down to work.

    "We will do this immediately after international monitors take charge of entry and exit points on the border between Ukraine and Russia as well as on Ukraine's border with other European countries," he was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency.

    He said Russia will also monitor the amount of gas supplied to Ukraine and received by European consumers, warning that supplies may again be reduced in the event of theft.

    With some 80 percent of its gas exports to the EU passing Ukraine, Moscow accused Kiev of stealing the transit gas after Russia cut off all gas supplies to Ukraine on Jan. 1 over a pricing dispute. Kiev denied the accusations, saying that Russia was trying to discredit Ukraine as a reliable gas transit partner.

Ukraine and Russia failed to agree on a 2009 gas supply deal in the latest round of bilateral talks, Oleh Dubyna, chief executive of Ukrainian state energy company Naftogaz, said late Saturday.

A stop sign is seen outside the Stirol chemical plant in the town of Gorlovka in the Donetsk region January 9, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
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    The EU depends on Russia for one-fourth of its gas supply. The complete cutoff of Russian gas supplies to the EU since Wednesday has left thousands of European families without heating at the height of winter.

    Topolanek arrived in Kiev on Friday and then flew to Moscow on Saturday with the aim of brokering a deal to end the row. After reaching an agreement with Russia, the Czech leader is expected to meet with Ukraine's leadership in Kiev later Saturday.

    Marina Soroka, Ukrainian prime minister's press secretary, confirmed that Topolanek is to bring from Russia the protocol on monitoring Russian gas transit through Ukraine.

    Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Grygory Nemyrya earlier told reporters he was "hoping" the agreement could be signed on Saturday. "A process is underway, which in our opinion should lead to a compromise," he said.

    However, even if supplies restart, it is more likely that the gas will be delivered only to Europe, not Ukraine, because Moscow and Kiev still need to agree on a supply contract for 2009.

    Russia has repeatedly said Ukraine must pay market prices for its natural gas. "If the price for gas Gazprom supplies to Eastern European states neighboring Ukraine is around 470 U.S. dollars per1,000 cubic meters in the first quarter of 2009, then Ukraine should also pay the market price for gas," Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said on Friday.

    Last year, Russia charged Ukraine 179.50 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters, about half what it charged its European clients.

Ukraine signs deal on Russian gas transit monitoring

    KIEV, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine has signed an agreement on the EU-led monitoring of Russian gas transit to Europe, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said Sunday.

    Tymoshenko made the announcement in Kiev after talks with Mirek Topolanek, the prime minister of the Czech Republic, which holds the rotating EU presidency. Full story

Naftogaz: Ukraine, Russia fail to agree on 2009 gas supply deal

    KIEV, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine and Russia failed to agree on a 2009 gas supply deal in the latest round of bilateral talks, Oleh Dubyna, chief executive of Ukrainian state energy company Naftogaz, said late Saturday.

    "Unfortunately the talks with Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom have finished with nothing," Dubyna told reporters at Kiev airport upon his return from Moscow. "The talks now have to proceed at a higher level." Full story

EU calls for production hike amid gas crisis

    BRUSSELS, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- European Union (EU) energy experts urged European producers on Friday to hike production as Russian gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine remained cut-off.

    "The extent of the current gas crisis is unprecedented in European history," energy experts from the 27 EU member states said in a statement after a meeting with industry representatives under the framework of the EU's gas coordination group on Friday in Brussels.Full story

Russia sets conditions to resume gas flows to Europe via Ukraine

    MOSCOW, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Russia's state gas monopoly Gazprom said it would resume supplies to Europe via Ukraine on Friday if an agreement allowing a EU-led monitoring team to track gas flows through Ukraine was signed.  Full story

EU demands immediate resumption of gas deliveries

    BRUSSELS, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) on Friday demanded that Russia and Ukraine immediately resume gas deliveries to the bloc's member states, saying that EU monitors for the process were already in place.

    "There is now agreement on the details of the monitoring mission. It is now imperative that the gas starts to flow to the EU without any further delay," the European Commission said in a statement. Full story

EU strikes deal with Russia on gas monitoring

    BRUSSELS, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) reached a deal with Russia on the deployment of monitors to check gas flow via Ukraine, paving the way for the resumption of Russian gas supplies to Europe, the Czech EU presidency said late Thursday.
    "The Czech Prime Minister and the Russian Prime Minister agreed on the conditions of deployment of the monitoring commission at all locations that are relevant for the flow of gas," the Czech government said in a statement. Full story

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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