Russia expects full payment for gas supplies by Belarus

MOSCOW, May 27 (Xinhua) -- The Russian government believed Belarus would fulfill contract obligations on the price of Russian gas, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said Thursday.

According to the agreement between the two countries, Minsk is obliged to pay 169 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic meters of gas. However, currently it pays only 150 dollars.

"This is the price they set for themselves," Sechin pointed out Thursday, adding that "Belarus must pay the previously agreed price of 169 dollars and annual average of 180-186 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters."

The official said it was unlikely Russia would have to limit the shipment of gas to Belarus. "I am sure the contract will be executed," said the deputy prime minister as quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency.

The Belarusian economy heavily relies on gas supplies from Russia. Minsk insists that Russia should sell gas at domestic prices, but Moscow demands Minsk pay international market prices.

At the moment, Belarus owes Russia 192 million dollars for imported gas. Russian gas monopoly Gazprom estimates that, by the end of 2010, the Belarusian debt may reach 500 million dollars.


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