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    GAZPROM READY TO RECONSIDER GAS SUPPLIES TO BELARUS AT RUSSIAN DOMESTIC PRICES

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    MOSCOW, February 20 (RIA Novosti) - Gazprom will reconsider the issue of supplying natural gas to Minsk at Russian domestic prices after a Russian-Belarussian joint venture is established, Sergei Kupriyanov, Gazprom press secretary, told RIA Novosti.

    Earlier in a conversation with journalists in Minsk, Belarussian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky expressed hope that Minsk would only have to buy Russian natural gas at commercial prices until the creation of a joint venture.

    He confirmed that the Belarussian side would buy Russian natural gas at commercial prices until a joint venture is created.

    Mr. Sidorsky also said that he could not understand Gazprom's insistence that Beltransgaz be transferred to Gazprom over a 3-4 month period at its book value.

    We are not speaking about the book value we are speaking about contract price, the Gazprom press secretary said while commenting on Mr. Sidorsky's comments.

    Mr. Kupryanov recalled that that they were speaking about the price of about $600 million. "This is our preliminary assessment which will be confirmed by an independent auditing company's evaluation," he said. We have submitted side a list of three auditing companies to the Belorussian side for it choose from."

    "We believe that an evaluation by these companies, which have a good reputation in the world, needs to be heeded to," Mr. Kupriyanov stressed.

    Kupriyanov said, "the book value of Gazprom is much higher than its market value."

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