21 Jun 2010 09:29

Medvedev binds Gazprom to restrict gas deliveries to Belarus

GORKI. June 21 (Interfax) - President Dmitry Medvedev at a Monday morning working meeting asked Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller to tell him how talks with Belarus on indebtedness arising from natural gas deliveries were progressing and what they had resulted in.

"Belarus recognizes the gas debt but offers to pay it back with machines, equipment and other commodities," Miller said.

Hence, the talks did not produce any result, he said.

Medvedev stressed that in line with Russian law foreign payments can be accepted only in foreign currency, otherwise they contradict the law. "Gazprom cannot accept payments for debts in pies, butter, cheese or other means of payment," he said.

He suggested continuing the talks "but apparently Gazprom will have to make some decisions."

"What does Gazprom suggest doing in this context?" Medvedev asked.

"Pursuant to the contract Gazprom should introduce restrictions on gas deliveries proportionately to the size of the debt," Miller said.

"As of when? Probably, this will happen in the nearest future," Medvedev said.

Miller said that Gazprom will be taking these steps "as of this morning."

"Then get down to the corresponding procedure but remain in touch with Belarusian partners and encourage them to fulfill the contract," Medvedev said adding that Gazprom should be applying the same rules that it has with regard to its other counterparts.