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    DAGESTANI GAS PIPELINE CATCHES FIRE

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    MAKHACHKALA, APRIL 3, 2004. (RIA NOVOSTI) - Russia has temporarily stopped pumping gas to Azerbaijan because of an accident at the Dagestani trunk gas pipeline, a spokesperson for the Mezh-Region-Gas company told RIA Novosti today. (Dagestan is a republic in the South federal district) In his words, this accident won't impair gas deliveries to clients in Dagestan.

    The Mozdok-Kazimagomed gas pipeline caught fire at 9.30 p.m. Moscow time above a deep mountain ravine 10 km from Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan.

    Talking to RIA Novosti, people at the dispatch-control service of the Caspii-Gazprom public company, which is a Gazprom subsidiary, noted that, according to preliminary expert checks, the accident was caused by external factors. The pipeline rupture measures 10 cm by 55 cm; and its edges are bent inside. This proves external influence, possibly even premeditated actions, a spokesperson for the Caspii-Gazprom company's dispatch-control service said.

    Investigators will ascertain the causes of this incident, the dispatch-control service spokesman noted.

    All repairs are to be completed already today, RIA Novosti's interlocutor at the regional gas company said in conclusion.

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