Gazprom says will charge Belarus European gas prices from 2007

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MOSCOW, March 30 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's natural gas monopoly will raise prices for Belarus to European levels starting from 2007, the company said Thursday.

"In 2007, Russia should provide natural gas to Belarus at European prices," Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said during talks with Belarusian Finance Minister Alexander Ageyev and director general of Belarus state gas company Beltransgaz Dmitry Kazakov.

Belarusian officials said they would present proposals for the 2007 deal by April 30, a Gazprom news release said.

Under a contract between Gazprom and Beltransgaz signed in December, Gazprom will deliver 21 billion cubic meters of gas this year at $46.68 per 1,000 cubic meters, the same as last year.

Gazprom said the price of gas and transit took into account the future Russia-Belarus Union State, which implies single standards for financial and economic indicators.

Gazprom first raised the gas price for Belarus in 2005. Late last year, Russia gave its neighbor a $146 million loan to cover gas price hikes.

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