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Belarusian Official Says Working To Resolve Energy Standoff With Russia

Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimer Syamashka (file photo)

Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Uladzimer Syamashka says Minsk and Moscow are working on a protocol to resolve the ongoing energy standoff between the two allies.

Syamashka said on February 16 that he and his Russian counterpart, Arkady Dvorkovich, had signed a preliminary protocol on energy-price and debt issues on February 10 that "will hopefully come out next week."

Syamashka added that the protocol was currently being "revised by the Russian leadership."

Dvorkovich said on February 16 that "the final agreement on the issue has not been reached," adding that the two countries' leaderships were expected to resolve the remaining differences.

Minsk and Moscow have been at odds over prices for natural gas and oil delivered to Belarus from Russia for more than a year. Belarus has been trying to get a lower price.

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka publicly accused Russia on February 3 of trying to bolster its influence over his country by pushing to control its energy pipelines and using oil and gas supplies as leverage.

Despite the two countries being members in the Russia-Belarus Union State, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and the Commonwealth of Independent States, they frequently have disruptive trade disputes.

Based on reporting by BelaPAN, TASS, and Interfax