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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.

    He again said that Belarus must receive Russian gas at the internal Russian prices. He asserted that Russia "lives in Byelorussia with privileges." He said that Belarus maintain the railway transit and the air defence forces.

    "Today, by taking this step, Russia has destroyed all the agreements which were achieved of late," said Lukashenko. The increased gas prices will make the Byelorussian goods not competitive on the internal market, he underscored.

    "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 consumers in 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," says the Gazprom's press release which was received by RIA Novosti.

    "For resuming gas deliveries in full, the Byelorussian side was recommended to urgently sign new contracts," the press release points out. "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 press release says.

    "The Byelorussian side is fully responsible for the violation of the OAO Gazprom's commitments given to the foreign consumers of Russian gas," the Gazprom's press release underscores.

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