Russia, Belarus fail to sign customs-free oil export agreement

Russia has failed on Thursday to sign a deal on oil deliveries to Belarus, citing "a lack of directives and authority" on the behalf of the Belarusian delegation.

The agreement concerns Russian customs-free oil deliveries to Belarus for domestic use in 2010.

A Russian delegation member said talks would continue in 2010 since "no results were reached."

Earlier this week, Russian Vice-Prime Minister Igor Sechin said the agreement could be signed in Moscow on December 30-31. He said that if the agreement was not signed by then, Belarus would be obliged to pay 100% of the customs duties for oil deliveries.

In mid-December, Sechin said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev gave instructions to complete the agreement and hoped it would be signed by Belarus by the end of the year.

The contract would release Belarus from paying customs taxes on the 5-6 million tons of oil it uses domestically for the year.

Sechin said Russia exported 21 million tons of oil through pipelines into the neighboring country, and another 4-5 million tons was delivered by rail and truck.

MOSCOW, December 31 (RIA Novosti)


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