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    RUSSIAN GAS SUPPLIES TO POLAND UNDER CONTROL - POLISH DEPUTY PM

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    WARSAW, February 19th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent Leonid Sviridov) - The situation with Russian natural gas supplies to Poland is under control, Jozef Oleksy, Polish Vice Premier and Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration, said live to a Polish radio station on Thursday.

    "Russia has always confirmed that it is a solid gas supplier," he noted. According to the vice-premier, all the necessary talks are under way, and consumers have natural gas delivered without a halt.

    "The fact that Russia has stopped delivering gas via Belarus will have no impact on Poland," said the vice premier.

    Polish government spokesman Marcin Kaszuba is also convinced that Poland's energy security is facing no threat.

    When commenting on the Russian Gazprom concern's decision to stop gas supplies to Belarus, including Russian gas transit to Poland via Belarus at 6 pm Moscow time on Wednesday, Kaszuba said, "there is no fear of any gas supply limitations in regard to individual and other consumers." The Polish government has sufficient reserves of natural gas for an emergency, he explained.

    At 6 pm on Wednesday, Gazprom had to halt natural gas supplies to Belarus and its transit via the republic's territory due to unauthorised gas use by Belarus-based Beltransgaz.

    In 2003, Poland consumed about 13 billion cubic metres of gas, with some 8.5 billion imported mainly from Russia.

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