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Russia, Belarus Oil Supply Talks Halted

A locked valve on a gas pipeline in the Minsk region (file photo)
MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Negotiations between Russia and Belarus over the supply of Russian oil for 2010 have broken down after talks in Moscow, Belarus state news agency BelTA reported, quoting an unnamed source in the Belarusian delegation.

Russia briefly cut oil supplies to Belarusian refineries this month in a dispute over pricing that has again raised the specter of winter supply disruptions for European Union customers.

"As a result of the work of experts, the two sides were close together," a source in the Belarusian delegation was quoted as saying, before the Russian officials took a break to report back to senior officials.

"Upon returning, the Russia's negotiators effectively renounced all agreements and returned to the position of the beginning of the year," the source was quoted as saying.

The Belarusian delegation flew to Moscow on January 5 and held talks in the Russian Energy Ministry early today, but will remain in Moscow, the Belarusian government spokesman told Reuters.