Text of report in English by Russian state news agency ITAR-TASS
Minsk, 9 April: Russia initiated the signing of a new gas cooperation agreement with Belarus and the latter is ready to seal the deal in case of synchronized transition to a price formula providing equal gas supply profitability on domestic and foreign markets, Belarusian First Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimir Syamashka was quoted by the Prime-TASS business news agency as saying on Thursday [8 April].
He reiterated that the two countries are discussing the programme to expand bilateral cooperation in the fuel and energy sector.
"This is a framework programme that, in our opinion, needs to have reconsidered agreements on gas, oil, parallel operation of energy systems and nuclear power stations," he said.
However, last December "the Russian side offered another four intergovernmental agreements to this programme and said they should be prepared very fast," Syamashka said.
"Russia initiated a new gas agreement. We say that we are not against this initiative, although the existing agreement is valid for two years and will expire only in late 2011," he said.
At the same time he stressed Belarus will sign the agreement if "Russia includes into this document the principle of synchronized transition to equal gas supply profitability that envisions an equal profit rate from gas that a consumer buys in Russia, Belarus, Germany or Poland or elsewhere".
Syamashka noted, Belarus transferred a reconsidered gas agreement to Russia.
"That's why the ball is on their side," he said.
Originally published by ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow, in English 0757 9 Apr 10.