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    RUSSIA, BELARUS DISCUSS RELATIONS IN GAS SECTOR

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    KIEV, January 23rd, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - On the initiative of the Belarussian president, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko have had a telephone conversation, said presidential spokesman Alexei Gromov.

    In his words, the conversation focused on the two countries' relations in the gas sector.

    On Thursday independent gas suppliers, ITERA Holding and Trans Nafta, reported to the Gazprom company that Beltransgaz's contracted gas volumes had been completely extracted and that non-sanctioned gas extraction had been conducted from January 16th.

    In this connection, gas transportation from independent suppliers is to be stopped from January 24th.

    From January 1, 2004 Gazprom has delivered no gas to Belarus. ITERA Holding and Trans Nafta have fulfilled their January obligations to deliver natural gas to Belarus, and the Belarussian side has signed no new contracts for further gas deliveries.

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