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Opinions & Interviews

20 Dec 2016

Kobyakov: Belarus hopes for compromise with Russia on oil and gas

Kobyakov: Belarus hopes for compromise with Russia on oil and gas

MINSK, 20 December (BelTA) - Belarus hopes to reach a compromise with Russia on oil and gas, Belarus Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov said in an interview with Reuters, BelTA has learned.

“We expect that the active dialogue, that we are now engaged in, will help us reach a compromise. The economic conditions should be comparable or, which is better, equal for all market participants. This will allow us to continue talking about four freedoms of the economic union rather than “picking up raisins from a bun” assuming that others will accept this,” he said.

According to Andrei Kobyakov, Belarus and Russia will be able to reach a unanimous decision. “Our cooperation should take into account the integration component. Otherwise, integration will simply not work,” he said.

Andrei Kobyakov said that Belarus is, first of all, concerned about the difference of prices between Belarus and Russia. "If in the regions which border Belarus the gas price is more than two times cheaper it is obvious that the competitiveness of the goods which Belarus is producing will be worse than in Russia," said Andrei Kobyakov. "What we are saying is that we do not mind if you raise prices to levels matching Belarus. We will not ask you questions. But if you cannot raise prices at home, then adjust the prices for Belarus to yours. We have the corresponding legal framework signed in 2011," the PM said.

The two countries have been negotiating the issue since summer 2015. “We find common ground from time to time. In October we were sure that all the matters were resolved. Our partners, however, changed their mind, which required an additional round of talks,” Andrei Kobyakov said.

“I cannot say that we have poor relations with Russia in the energy sector. It is not between ‘very bad and good’ but rather between ‘good and even better’,” the Prime Minister said.

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