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    RUSSIAN PRESIDENT' AIDE: BELARUSSIAN GOVERNMENT HAS TO SOLVE GAS DISPUTE ON ITS OWN

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    MOSCOW, February 19, 2004. /RIA Novosti correspondent/ - The Belarussian government will have to find the decision to the gas dispute on its own, the Russian President' aide for economic issues Andrei Illarionov said in an interview with RIA Novosti, when commenting on the situation with Russian gas supplies to Belarus.

    "The only one to blame for people freezing in Belarus is the Belarussian government, and it is for the government to find a solution to the problem," he said.

    The only one to be "scolded" in the current situation is Gazprom, Illarionov pointed out. But it "has assumed an extremely mild attitude towards Belarus, offering gas at $50 per 1,000 cm. I believe that a price of $110-120-130 is more justified," he said.

    No one has done as much to cease Russian gas deliveries to Belarus as the country itself, the presidential aide believes. "Any blame in the present situation rests exclusively with the Belarussian party," he pointed out.

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