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Lukashenka Says Russia To Scrap Oil Duties For Belarus

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (left) and his Belarusian counterpart Alyaksandr Lukashenka met on the sidelines of a summit of the Russia-Kazakhstan-Belarus customs union in Moscow.
Belarus says Russia has agreed to scrap duties on oil it supplies to the country from the beginning of next year.

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said in televised comments today that his government in turn had agreed to pass on to Russia the export duties it charges on products it makes from the imported Russian oil.

The agreement, thought to be worth up to $4 billion to the Belarusian economy, comes a week before a presidential election in which Lukashenka is a candidate.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Lukashenka today held surprise closed-door talks in Moscow.

The meeting was not announced in advance by either party and reporters were not allowed to attend any portion of the talks.

Relations between the two neighbors have cooled considerably in recent years as the sides fight over border tariffs and the price Belarus pays for Russian energy supplies, on which it relies.

compiled from agency reports