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    THE BYELORUSSIAN PRESIDENT AGREES TO RUSSIAN GAS DELIVERIES ON MOSCOW'S TERMS

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    MINSK, February 19, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus has agreed to Russian gas deliveries on Moscow's terms. He spoke about it on Thursday at the conference with the Byelorussian government.

    "I agree to conclude a treaty on Putin's terms," the Byelorussian President said.

    "But in its turn, Belarus will make inventory of Byelorussian-Russian relations," Lukashenko underscored.

    "We shall find the necessary 200 million dollars (to pay for gas), take them from children and the old folk," he said.

    The Russian Gazprom company was forced to stop its gas deliveries to Belarus and the transit of its gas through the republic's territory on Wednesday because of the unsanctioned taking out of gas by the Beltransgaz company.

    On Wednesday, at 10:00, the deliveries of Russian gas to the Republic of Belarus were limited. This measure was taken on the basis of the application from the independent supplier, the Trans Nafta company, because the Beltransgaz had fully used up the amount of gas it paid for. And the Byelorussian side had not signed new contracts," a spokesman for the Gazprom said.

    "For resuming gas deliveries in full, the Byelorussian side was recommended to urgently sign new contracts. However, instead of doing this, the Beltransgaz started an unsanctioned taking out of the gas which Russia supplies through the territory of Belarus to the third countries." "In connection with this, the Gazprom was forced fully to stop since 18:00 the deliveries of gas to Belarus and its transit through the territory of the republic," the spokesman said.

    The last contract for gas deliveries to Byelorussia in the amount of 360 million cubic metres was signed between Beltransgaz and Trans Nafta on February 12.

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