Belarus renews ultimatum to suspend Russian gas transit

21:59, June 25, 2010      

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Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko on Friday gave another 24 hours for Gazprom to pay its proclaimed residual debt for transit fees, adding otherwise his government would suspend the transit of Russian oil and gas.

"I am warning the (Russian) government once again: failure by Gazprom to pay for the services over the next 24 hours must lead to the suspension of any services for the Russian Federation, involving transportation of hydrocarbons-- oil and gas," Lukashenko told a government meeting in Minsk as quoted by Russian news agencies.

Gazprom, in turn, says it owes nothing to Belarus under current contract, according to company spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov. One day earlier, the company sent a large package of documents to Minsk, trying to justify its positions.

Tensions over gas between Moscow and Minsk apparently eased up as both sides claimed clearances of their respective debts. But the latest verbal exchange indicated that the so-called "gas war" has not been over yet.

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