KIEV, September 1 (Itar-Tass) —— Negotiations between Ukraine and Russia on a revision of gas contracts must soon be moved from the category of working talks to that of formal ones, Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Yuri Boiko, said on Thursday.
In an interview published today by the newspaper Government Courier, he said: "For all of the 18 months of the current government has been in office there have continued gas talks, all the time we have been making our proposals, but the Russian partners have their own opinion on the gas agreements. Soon the working talks should be transformed into formal ones."
"Then our people will be informed what the government proposes to the Russian counterparts," he added. "The principled position of the president of Ukraine is any structure can be built only on the parity principle. So I say outright what there can never be: no merger of Naftogaz and Gazprom, no Belarusian scenario," said Boiko.
Negotiations between the parties are not easy, he acknowledged. At the same time, the minister hopes that Ukraine and Russia will reach a compromise, "taking into account the strategic level of relations." He said pricing was the focal issue at negotiations. "There are two positions - the price and the guarantees of transit through our territory," said Boiko. He noted that Ukraine intends to significantly reduce gas consumption and increase its domestic production. Boiko declared that this year's gas consumption in the country had reduced to 54 billion cubic meters, and next year it would go down by another ten billion cubic meters. In the meantime, the task has been set of increasing domestic gas production over five years from 20 billion cubic meters to 27 billion.