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    RUSSIA AND BELARUS REACH NO NEW AGREEMENTS ON GAS COOPERATION SO FAR

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    MOSCOW, February 10, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -Russia and Belarus have failed to reach any new agreements on gas cooperation, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said after Tuesday's talks with his Belarus counterpart Sergei Sidorsky in Moscow.

    The Russian state-run Gazprom company still has not resumed its supplies of gas to Belarus. Besides, there are long delays in work to construct a joint gas-transport venture, Kasyanov was quoted by journalists as saying.

    According to the official, Moscow doubts of the structure of capital of Beltransgaz, a Belarus company that Gazprom plans to set up a joint enterprise with. Kasyanov is hopeful that experts will work through all vexed issues in the near future so that Gazprom and Beltransgaz will employ an audit company to make independent estimation of the Belarus venture's assets.

    Moscow repeatedly stated that it was ready for such measure, the Russian premier reminded those present.

    As regards the structure of authorized capital of the future joint gas-transport venture on the basis of Gazprom and Beltransgaz, the Russian head of government pointed out "a certain juridical peculiarity of the issue".

    At the same time, Kasyanov describes today's situation of gas supplies to Belarus as stable, and there is no lack of hydrocarbon materials in Belarus owing to independent Russian suppliers.

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