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Monday, May 01, 2006

Gazprom dismisses claims of unpredictability in Russian policy

MOSCOW. April 30 (Interfax) - Claims made in the West that Russia's energy policy is unpredictable constitute interference in business relations between companies, Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov believes. "For several decades we have been steadily supplying Europe with natural gas, we look forward to the continuation of this cooperation and see every reason for it to be successful. The main thing is that politicians not stand in its way," he said on Ekho Moskvy radio on Sunday. "We are hearing clamorous statements from EU politicians, which indicate that they are trying to interfere in business relations between companies and limit our operations and attempt to impose their conditions," Kupriyanov said. "If we have long-term contracts signed and we are told that their terms must be reviewed, isn't that an attempt to politicize relations?" he said. "The EU analysts who failed to predict the rise in the price Ukraine pays for Russian gas must be fired instead of blaming Russia for being unpredictable," he said. "It was absolutely evident that independent Ukraine striving to join the EU would not be supported, at the expense of Russian fuel reserves, with discounted prices," Kupriyanov said. "If we are being told that we threatened someone, tell us whom we threatened. Tell me their names. At the same time, we constantly hear that our access to markets should be limited, that our share of the European market should be limited. Isn't that a threat?" he said. Western media reported on Saturday that officials in Brussels and Washington believe that Europe and the United States could jointly withstand the Russian energy threat. Earlier European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso invited the U.S. State Department to support Europe in its fight with Russia on energy resources, saying that, gradually, energy resources are becoming a tool for political pressure. U.S. State Department representative Daniel Fried said that the West could no longer tolerate the unpredictability of the energy market.

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