EU wants supply contracts honoured in Russian gas row

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The EU Commission on Tuesday called on Belarus and Russia to respect their "contractual obligations" after a payments row between them threatened Russian natural gas supplies to Europe.

"We expect the gas flow to the EU will not be affected and we expect contactual obligations to be fulfilled," said Marlene Holzner, EU Commission spokeswoman on energy.

"We continue to monitor the situation and are in close contact with the Russian Federation and Belarus," she added.

Holzner said that 6.25 percent of Europe's natural gas consumption is pumped through the Belarus pipeline concerned, with Lithuania the worst affected.

The EU Commission assurances came as Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko ordered the shutdown of the transit of Russian gas to Europe after Russia cut supplies to his country by a third in a debt dispute.

© 2010 AFP

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