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Belarusian Delegation In Moscow For Oil Talks

Part of the Druzhba pipeline system in Plock, Poland (epa) January 9, 2007 -- A Belarusian delegation is in Moscow today in a bid to resolve an energy dispute that has disrupted Russian oil deliveries through Belarus to Europe.

Several European countries reported disruptions in oil deliveries through the Druzhba pipeline on January 8.

The Belarusian company operating the pipeline said it had reduced the volume of oil deliveries to Europe. The Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft later said it had completely halted oil exports to Belarus, after accusing Minsk of siphoning oil destined for Europe.

The cutoff came shortly after Russia raised the price it charges Belarus for natural gas. Belarus then imposed a transit tax on Russian oil sent through its territory.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) today said the disruption of deliveries does not threaten Europe's oil supply. It said that European countries can draw on strategic reserves if necessary. The agency called for a speedy resolution to the dispute.

(Reuters, AFP)

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