4 Nov 2009 15:32

Ukraine, Belarus should cooperate more in transiting energy

MINSK. Nov 4 (Interfax) - Ukraine and Belarus can expand cooperation in transiting energy, Ukrainian Ambassador in Minsk Ihor Likhovy said in an interview with Interfax.

"The time has come to reckon with the transiting countries' interests. This is not about some egoistic approach or a desire to dictate terms. This is about responsibility and the owner feeling, so to speak," Likhovy said.

"Wellbeing and security of nearly all of the European continent significantly depended on us, Ukraine and Belarus, at the beginning of this year," Likhovy said. "In order to be a reliable link in transmitting energy from the producers to the consumers, we need to be actively involved in this process," he said.

"Since we bear responsibility for transit, it is necessary to reckon with out current needs to keep our gas transportation system running," he said.

"Ukraine has openly proposed the European Union and the Russian Federation take part in the modernization of the Ukrainian gas transportation system," Likhovy said. "Not everyone took this appropriately, and someone thinks they have more rights to this system. As a matter of fact, this is an unconstructive approach. After all, we are not putting forward any demands just because our fathers and grandfathers denied themselves everything to industrialize the country and because Ukrainians and Belarusians built gas and oil pipelines and developed mineral fields in the USSR," he said.

"We are not putting any barriers on anyone's way, while someone is trying to drive us into the framework that worked well 40, 30, and even 20 years ago. But time changes the situation. Let's presume that the producing, transiting, and consuming countries need to be responsible partners. This triangle should be equilateral, then the situation will be stable," Likhovy said.