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Moscow and Minsk are bound to agree on 2021 oil and gas supplies, says envoy

According to the diplomat, the Russian side has fulfilled the terms of oil supply this year, as it was ruested by the Belarusian side

MINSK, November 25. /TASS/. Russian Ambassador to Belarus Dmitry Mezentsev expressed confidence that Russia and Belarus will find a mutually acceptable solution on the supply of energy resources to Belarus in 2021.

"The parties will definitely find a mutually acceptable solution on energy supplies next year. It is also important to ensure that the political situation is brought outside the framework of these negotiations on a purely energy issue," the Russian ambassador told reporters on Wednesday.

"Identifying any political similarities, regardless of the disputes and the set of arguments that accompany the negotiations, would be incorrect, unproductive and unpromising," the Russian diplomat believes.

Mezentsev stressed that "Russia and Belarus have basic agreements on annual energy supplies." According to the diplomat, the Russian side has fulfilled the terms of oil supply this year, as it was requested by the Belarusian side.

"As for the system of market relations, then it does not occur that a request of one of the parties prevails over the interests of the other. We must be honest adherents of the market economy principles," the head of the Russian diplomatic mission said.

"It's a different matter that if we are talking about special conditions requested by the Belarusian partners, it is important to take into account the practice of interaction between partners in the gas sector and the fact that, unfortunately, not without disputes, the parties have always found a possible solution to the issue," Mezentsev added.

Touching upon the assumption that the oil and gas talks between Moscow and Minsk can continue until the New Year, the ambassador warned against becoming "alarmists".

"Today we are obliged to reach basic, strategic agreements. The formation of a single gas market is of fundamental importance, which cannot be disregarded by solving significant, but essentially operational issues such as setting prices for energy resources in the short term," the Russian ambassador said.

Debt issue settled

The Russian diplomat finds it significant that "the Belarusian side has paid off the debt for the gas supplies that existed this year."

"Our partners have agreed with the calculations of the Russian side. This is an important stage in confirming that we are able and obliged to come to an agreement," the Russian ambassador noted.

"If one side asks for a "discount" (a gas price discount - TASS), then the other side has the right to count on a similar approach, on a "discount" for certain groups of goods - if we are talking about equal relations between independent states and business entities, "Mezentsev said.

"If we are talking about significant steps towards meeting each other - deeper interaction of industries, formation of a single gas market, convergence of tax legislation, similarity of approaches in industrial and agricultural policy, openness in the interaction of customs services, cooperation in dozens of other technical areas for the benefit of overall competitiveness, the prospects for promoting joint venture products in new markets, then negotiations on both tactical and fundamental issues will be successful and effective," Mezentsev said.

On November 11, Gazprom announced that Russia and Belarus fully settled the debt issue (payments for Russian gas) and began to discuss the terms of fuel supplies for 2021. Earlier, the Belarusian authorities stated that they want to achieve a fair price for Russian gas, since the wholesale price for 1,000 cubic meters of gas in Russia is $80, while Belarus has to pay $127 per 1,000 cubic meters this year.