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Gazprom, Belarus Make Little Progress in Moscow Gas Talks


Russia's state-run gas monopoly Gazprom and the government of Belarus have reported little progress in resolving their natural gas trade dispute.

Talks on the dispute resumed Saturday in Moscow. Meanwhile, Gazprom reissued its threat to cut off natural gas supplies to Belarus on Monday if the two countries can not reach an agreement.

Negotiations began Friday when Belarusian energy officials arrived in Moscow. But a spokesman for Gazprom, Sergey Kupriyanov, said the chief negotiator, Belarusian First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko, must come to Moscow in order for negotiations to be successful.

Belarus now pays $46 per 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas. But Gazprom wants Minsk to pay $105 starting in the new year.

Belarus has vowed retaliation to a gas cut-off by disrupting Russian gas supplies crossing its territory to Europe.

The Belarusian government-run oil firm, Belneftekhim, earlier Saturday suspended all of next year's oil delivery contracts with Russian companies. That move is in protest of new Russian export duties on previously untaxed crude oil exports to Belarus.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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