7 Oct 2009 18:25

Russia, Belarus preparing oil agreement

MINSK. Oct 7 (Interfax) - Russia and Belarus are preparing a new agreement on Russian oil shipments to Belarus, Russian Ambassador in Minsk Alexander Surikov told Interfax.

"Talks are underway, including talks on the oil agreement with a customs duty, on instruction from the Union State's Supreme State Council," the ambassador said.

"This customs duty is nothing else but a derivative of the export duty on light oil products made of Russian oil. It goes back to the intergovernmental agreement of 1995, when these duties were to be divided 85% to 15% between Russia and Belarus," Surikov said. "It was initially implemented fully, then partially and then Belarus pulled out of it unilaterally," he said.

"Of course, this agreement does not reflect the Customs Union's approaches and it must be modified. The talks are underway. Exactly how it will change is difficult to say. It is the work being done by the negotiating parties and they will come to terms," he said. "In any case, the price of oil for Belarus will be much lower than on world markets," Surikov said.