Belarus insisting on correctness of its position in debates with Gazprom

St PETERSBURG, June 18 (Itar-Tass) - Belarussian government believes it occupies a correct position in the dispute with Russia's natural gas giant Gazprom in what concerns payments for gas, Belarussian First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov said Thursday on the sidelines of the St Petersburg Economic Forum.

"This relationship has a special history and that's why there's nothing groundless in it," Kobyakov said.

Wednesday, Gazprom sent a letter to Vladimir Mayorov, the director of Belarus's gas pipeline operator Beltransgaz, and to First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko.

It claims that in 2010 Belarus commits systemic violations of the terms of the supplies agreement signed December 31, 2006.

The letter also says Belarus has an overdue payment of 192 million U.S. dollars for the gas it has consumed since the beginning of the year, and Gazprom will have to impose restrictions on the supplies of gas to the country.

The debt stems for the fact that Belarus pays 150 U.S. dollars per thousand cubic meters against the contract price of 169.22 U.S. dollars in the first quarter of the year and 184.8 U.S. dollars in the second quarter.

The forecast price of 2010 for Belarus is 187 U.S. dollars per thousand cubic meters.

In 2009, the Belarussian government also paid 150 U.S. dollars instead of a price that should have changed on the quarterly basis. Payment by the averaged annual price was not formalized in a supplementary agreement, but arrangement on this form of payment was reached at the level of Russian and Belarussian Presidents.

Gazprom says Belarus's debt for gas may rise to 500 million U.S. dollars to 600 million U.S. dollars by the yearend unless the situation is resolved in one way or another.


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