No reason for Russia to withhold gas: EU presidency

12th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

The comments of the Czech EU presidency came after the Ukraine government signed a new version of a deal to reopen Russian gas tap to Western Europe.

BRUSSELS – Russia has no reason not to resume the flow of gas to EU markets through Ukraine after Kiev re-signed a gas deal without additional provisos, the European Union's Czech presidency said on Monday.

"Ukraine (has) signed again the terms of reference without the declaration" contested by Moscow, Czech Energy Minister Martin Riman said as he arrived to chair a meeting of EU energy ministers.

"Russia has no reason not to restore the gas supplies immediately."

Earlier Russian energy giant Gazprom had said that Kiev had re-signed the deal to secure the resumption of Russian gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine with no additional provisos.

An EU-brokered accord on terms for Russia to resume gas supply collapsed over the weekend when Russia accused Ukraine of secretly altering the deal, prolonging one of Europe's worst energy crises in the dead of winter.

EU energy ministers were to hold emergency talks in Brussels on Russia-Ukraine gas crisis, focused on helping the worst-hit countries and long-term strategies to avoid a repetition.

Riman said that he expected the ministers to "call on Russia to restore the gas supplies".

[AFP / Expatica]

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