A Belarusian delegation is leaving for Moscow to discuss Gazprom's debt for gas transit to Europe via Belarus in a recent energy row between the two ex-Soviet republics, a representative of the Belarusian Energy Ministry said on Sunday.
The talks, which will be held on Monday, "will focus on the cost of gas transit across Belarus and, correspondingly, Gazprom's debt for transit," the representative said.
At the talks between Gazprom and Belarus' gas company Beltransgaz on Saturday, the parties failed to agree on debt setoffs, the representative said.
Belarus refuses to pay the Russian gas price, set at $169 per 1,000 cubic meters for the first quarter of the year and $185 for the second quarter, and has been paying $150 since Jan. 1 instead.
Russian gas monopoly Gazprom has warned Belarus' pipeline firm Beltransgaz that it may cut gas supplies from June 21 over the country's debts, Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said on Wednesday.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said earlier Russia was giving Belarus five days to pay off its $200 million gas debt, or tough measures would be taken.
Belarus has refused to acknowledge the debt. Instead, Belarusian First Deputy Energy Minister Eduard Tovpinets on Friday evening announced that Gazprom owed some $200 million to Belarus for gas transit fees to Europe, the same amount that Gazprom said Belarus owed for gas deliveries.
The CEO of Russia's gas giant Gazprom, Alexei Miller, said on Saturday the company is looking into the perspectives of bypassing Belarus in gas deliveries to Europe, adding that it is technically possible.
"In regard to that question, we need to look into this calmly, technical possibilities exist," Miller said.
Energy prices have been an irritant in relations between the ex-Soviet republics, which have pledged to establish a "union state."
MINSK, June 20 (RIA Novosti)