25 Dec 2018 21:53

Putin, Lukashenko agree to bridge gaps between positions on gas pricing, tax maneuver in Russian energy sector - Siluanov

MOSCOW. Dec 25 (Interfax) - The presidents of Russia and Belarus, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko, agreed during the Russian-Belarusian talks in Moscow on Tuesday to bridge the gaps between the two countries' positions on the issue of tax maneuver in the Russian oil sector and on the Russian gas pricing and to set up a working group to address the issues, Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said.

"We discussed the bilateral agenda. First of all, we discussed changes to Russian tax legislation that will take place next year and our plans to change taxation of the oil and gas sector," Siluanov told reporters following the talks.

"We discussed our combined actions in the area of pricing of gas and energy sources," he said.

"It was agreed to bridge the gaps between the positions in all those directions," he said.

"For these purposes, it was agreed to set up a working group that will interact. It will consist of government representatives," he added.

"This working group will prepare proposals on our further integration in addressing those pressing issues that are a matter of concern to the governments of our countries," Siluanov said.

When asked whether the group will be in charge of designing steps towards settling the issues surrounding the tax maneuver and gas pricing, Siluanov said: "We have to be clear on gas pricing and come up with proposals on forming prices on this type of energy, beginning in 2020."

"As for the working group, it will elaborate proposals on further integration and on how to address issues currently on the agenda between Russia and Belarus," he said.

However, Siluanov declined to comment when asked whether the sides have agreed on any compensation for Belarus, as Minsk is insisting that it will suffer damages due to Russia's tax maneuver.