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A refinery near Budapest that is being affected by the oil cutoff (epa)
January 10, 2007 -- Russia says talks with Belarus on resuming oil shipments to Western Europe cannot get under way until Belarus first cancels a new transit fee on oil coming from Russia.
The announcement was made by Russian Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref.
President Vladimir Putin has ordered officials to consider a possible reduction in Russian oil output to handle a decline in crude exports due to the dispute with Belarus.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that the interruption of Russian supplies westward "destroys trust," and said she will raise the issue when she meets with Putin on January 21.
Belarus continues to blame the problem on Russia, saying Moscow is making unreasonable demands. Belarus imposed its transit fee after Russia added duties on oil exports to Belarus.
The halt of Russian shipments is reported to have affected supplies in countries including Ukraine and EU members Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Germany.
(compiled from agency reports)