Putin plans oil production cut

Trade war with Belarus worsens as negotiators fail to meet over pipeline dispute.

    European nations fear they will be hurt by Russia's decision to turn off the taps [AP]

    However, a quick resolution to the dispute seemed distant after the Russian government refused to meet a Belarussian delegation that arrived in Moscow on Tuesday.
     
    Andrei Kabyakov, the Belarussian deputy prime minister, flew there for talks with his Russian counterpart but failed to start negotiations.
     
    "The Russian side told us... they are not yet ready for talks," Vladimir Naidunov, Belarus's first deputy economy minister, told reporters in Moscow.
     
    Confidence damaged
     
    Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said that the sudden suspension of oil deliveries through the Druzhba pipeline in Belarus had damaged confidence in Russia as an energy supplier.
     
    "It is not acceptable when there are no consultations about such moves," Merkel said when asked about Russia's actions on Tuesday.
     
    "That repeatedly destroys confidence and you cannot build co-operation based on true mutual trust in this way."
     
    Belarus wants Russia to pay $45 a tonne for oil flowing through the pipeline across its territory, but Moscow says the fee is illegal.
     
    Both countries accuse each other of provoking the halt in supplies
     
    About 12.5 per cent of the oil the EU consumes is pumped through the pipeline from Russia, which provides half of the 27-nation bloc's oil imports.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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