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Armenia Says Russian Gas Price Hike Won't Disrupt Relations

Gas pipelines in Ukraine (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) 16 January 2006 -- Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said today a possible increase in the price Armenia pays for Russian natural gas deliveries would not upset what he described as the "strategic partnership" between the two countries.

Under a preliminary deal, Armenia has agreed to pay double what it pays now for Russian natural gas starting 1 April. Armenia's prime minister has said Yerevan still hopes to secure better terms.

Foreign Minister Oskanian made his comments at a joint news conference in Yerevan today with visiting Georgian Foreign Minister Gela Bezhuashvili.

Bezhuashvili said Tbilisi considers Russia's decision to raise gas prices for Georgia "[solely] political" and added that Georgia will look at options to diversify its gas supplies in the future.

(Interfax, ITAR-TASS, Mediamax)

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