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23 May, 2008 15:06

Russia & Ukraine pledge to end gas disputes

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Yulia Timoshenko, have agreed to start negotiations over a strategic agreement on Russian gas deliveries.

The Prime Ministers held bilateral talks in Minsk during the annual CIS  heads of government meeting.

“We are ready to work on this issue, as well as on other matters. We have just discussed some issues of industrial security with our colleagues. Usually, I don’t like to use words like ”security“ lightly, but given the current situation the need is particularly urgent,” said Putin.

Ukraine is also looking forward to starting negotiations on the strategic treaty about gas supplies.

“Our countries should clearly understand the logic of how the price is determined. We are fully aware of the fact that sooner or later we have to gradually switch to market prices. Thus, such a strategic treaty would be a stabilizing factor for this entire region,” said Timoshenko.

The gas deliveries issue has been a sticking point between the two countries for the past two years over Ukraine's disputed debt to Gazprom.