Russia to wait on ratifying Energy Charter - presidential aide

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Russia is not going to ratify the Energy Charter soon, a presidential aide said Tuesday. "The Russian Federation has signed the Energy Charter," Igor Shuvalov said. "The principles contained in it are correct, but Russia will not yet undertake any commitments to ratify it."
MOSCOW, June 20 (RIA Novosti)-Russia is not going to ratify the Energy Charter soon, a presidential aide said Tuesday.

"The Russian Federation has signed the Energy Charter," Igor Shuvalov said. "The principles contained in it are correct, but Russia will not yet undertake any commitments to ratify it."

"There are a few things that do not correspond to Russia's interests," he told journalists.

European officials have urged Russia to ratify the Energy Charter Treaty, which was signed in The Hague in December 1991 as a mechanism spelling out the terms of energy cooperation between eastern and western Europe.

In 2003, 51 European and Asian states joined the charter. Seventeen countries and 10 international organizations have the status of observers. Russia has signed but not ratified the treaty as Europe has demanded access for Central Asian states and other countries to its pipelines, which Moscow says will make their natural gas 50% cheaper than Russia's when it arrives in Europe.

President Vladimir Putin said in May the Energy Charter meant free access to production and transportation infrastructure, but added: "The question is what will we get in return? We ask where your deposits and pipelines are. If [Europe] does not have any, then we have to look for other areas of cooperation."

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