January 2, 2007 -- First Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimir Syamashka has said Belarus is ready to share with Russia the profits from its exports of refined oil products if Moscow abandons a plan to slap full duties on crude-oil supplies to Belarus.
Syamashka said Minks hopes to settle the issue by January 15.
Russian sales of crude oil to Belarus so far have been exempt from export duties. But during a recent dispute with Minsk over gas prices, Russia said it would introduce a duty as of 2007.
Russia and Belarus signed a new gas deal late on December 31, with Minsk agreeing to pay Gazprom, Russia's state-run gas monopoly, more than twice what Belarus was paying last year.
Syamashka said the price increase will be absorbed by companies, not Belarusian consumers.
Under the deal, Gazprom will also gain a 50 percent stake in Belarus's state-owned gas-transit monopoly, Beltranshaz.