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Politicisation of RF-Ukrainian gas problem hampers its resolution

April 05, 2012, 3:00 UTC+3

Russia proposed to create a bilateral consortium in order to govern the gas transmission system of Ukraine

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WASHINGTON, April 5 (Itar-Tass) — The gas problem in Russian-Ukrainian relations is to politicised that complicates its resolution, which should be searched for exclusively on the economic basis, Ukrainian first deputy chief of staff Irina Akimova said at the Carnegie Foundation on Wednesday, April 4.

Akimova is in Washington on a working visit. She met with American officials, including at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Commenting on ways to settle gas disagreements between Moscow and Kiev, Akimova told Itar-Tass that the 2009 agreements with Russia “are unfair and should be revised” because Ukraine “pays for Russian fuel more than other European countries”. In addition, the principle of “take and pay” forces Ukraine to buy the excessive number of Russian gas, she said.

At the same time, Akimova said she is convinced that the resolution of the problem might be found if the partners showed goodwill and acted by being guided by economic interests and not for political reasons. “There is a possibility of solving the problem for governing the gas transmission system of Ukraine,” she stressed.

Akimova noted that juridical conditions had been created for this because the law, “On the Fundamentals on Functioning the Natural Gas Market in Ukraine”, operated in the republic from the middle of 2008.

“We continue the talks with Russia and the European Union,” Akimova said. But she declined to specify when the parties would be able to reach a compromise. Earlier, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov said the agreements might be reached at the yearend. In his words, “I mean preparations for a comprehensive inter-governmental agreement, which should regulate three groups of problems: on the gas price for Ukraine, gas consumption by Ukraine for its needs and expected gas supplies to Europe by using the Ukrainian gas transmission system.”

Russia proposed to create a bilateral consortium in order to govern the gas transmission system of Ukraine. But Kiev believes that it should be formulated with the participation of the EU. At the end of March Naftogaz chose an independent expert – Baker Tilly – Ukraine. The company will give an account on the cost of the gas transmission system till August 1. Then the parties will resume the talks.

Speaking about her meetings in Washington, Akimova told Itar-Tass that they focused on “concrete projects, including in the field of healthcare” due to the reform in the republic.



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