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EU Calls On Moldova, Russia To Resolve Gas Dispute

(RFE/RL) Brussels, 11 January 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The European Commission has urged Russia and Moldova to return to negotiations to resolve their lingering dispute over gas prices.

Although Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement in their gas spat in early January, deliveries of Russian gas to Moldova remain blocked.

Speaking at a meeting of the European Parliament's delegation for Ukraine today, Hilde Hardeman, a senior Commission official, said Moldova and Russia must also return to talks.

"Like in the case of Ukraine and Russia, we very strongly encourage the sides to sit down again at the [negotiating] table to continue discussions and to reach an agreement," she said.

Hardeman noted Ukraine's efforts to provide gas to Moldova and said that, as a result, the immediate effects of the Russian blockade are "not felt too strongly."

Ukraine's ambassador to the EU, Roman Shpek, said at the meeting that Ukraine is providing Moldova with gas from its own stocks.

Hardeman stressed that the transition to market prices in gas transactions is a welcome development, but must take place gradually.

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