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Russia worried about developments on European gas market – Lavrov

October 21, 2011, 23:04 UTC+3

Russia is concerned over the situation on the European gas market, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said

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MOSCOW, October 21 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia is concerned over the situation on the European gas market, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday and called to seek to settle any problems in the framework of an energy dialogue.

According to Lavrov, one of the top priority tasks of the Russian foreign ministry is to protect Russian companies active on the European gas market. “The issue is under the control of both the president and prime minister, since this is a sphere where the attitude to the country within the system of international relations is manifested,” Lavrov told the Radio of Russia, the Voice of Russia, and the Ekho Moskvy radio stations. “It reveals the attitude to people and companies, how respectfully, non-discriminatively they are treated.”

“We are seriously concerned about what is now going on on the European gas market,” the Russian foreign minister stressed. “We are the European Union’s closest partner, we have energy partnership relations. Any problems that may arise in this sphere can and are to be settled within the framework of the energy dialogue.”

“We are worried over the European Commission’ unilateral steps that are not always squared with or supported by member countries of the European Union,” Lavrov added.

The third energy package has provision that run counter to the liabilities of member countries of the European Union and the European Commission, he said. “Liabilities under these bilateral agreements with EU countries on mutual protection of investments, fix the principle of non-deterioration of conditions for business activities on their territories,” Lavrov noted. “But the third energy package do deteriorate such conditions.”

“The agreement on partnership and cooperation with the European Union has a similar provision: the sides undertake not to take steps that might tell negatively on businesses operating on their territories,” he went on. “This is a legal side of the matter, these documents may be produced in court or in court of arbitration.”

Moscow hopes for positive results of the negotiations between the Russian ministry of energy and the European energy commissioner. The negotiations “seek to prevent retrospective application of provisions of the third energy package in respect of projects that are already completed or being implemented,” he said.

In his words, appealing to court “will be our instrument.” “But it is better to agree without court, since any trial takes time and the energy situation in Europe cannot be described as an easy one,” he added.


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