Medvedev meets Gazprom CEO and Ukrainian energy minister

SOCHI, August 15 (Itar-Tass) —— President Dmitry Medvedev met with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Boiko on Monday, August 15.

The discussion focused on Russia’s gas cooperation.

Boiko presented his proposals on how to develop cooperation between the two countries in the field of gas transportation. The proposals cover “not only cooperation in the field of gas transportation but also cooperation in other sectors as well”, Miller said.

“We will study these proposals, assess them and send a reply to our Ukrainian friends,” he said.

“Gazprom believes that cooperation in the field of gas transportation could develop by the same model as we use with our Belarusian friends,” Miller said.

Last week, Medvedev met with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi to discuss, among other things, gas cooperation.

The “sides agreed to continue the search for new projects in this sphere,” a high-ranking official in the Kremlin administration said.

Medvedev warned against “politicising these issues and stressed to comply with the effective agreements in this field.

He also “made clarifications concerning possible parameters of cooperation between Ukraine and the Customs Union”.

“Such cooperation can develop on the basis of Ukraine’s full membership in the Customs Union. The ‘3+1’ formula is not acceptable for this purpose,” the Kremlin said.

Yanukovich proposed “3+1” participation in Customs Union for Ukraine during his meeting with Medvedev on August 11.

“We are working on these documents [on Ukraine’s access to the Customs Union by the “3+1” formula] practically every day. Work is now underway at the level of authorised representatives of the governments of Russia and Ukraine. And our president will discuss them with the president of Russia tomorrow,” Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov said prior to the meeting.

“I think I will most likely meet with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin shortly under the agreements to be made tomorrow in order to continue discussing these issues,” Azarov said.

According to the prime minister, the “3+1” formula can be filled with real substance. “We have an interest in a number of agreements that have already been formed in the Customs Union, and we are working on these agreements right now,” he said.

Yanukovich said on June 29 that Ukraine should sign a framework agreement with the Customs Union and then fill it with substance. “We are greatly interested to be in the Customs Union. But there are many different reasons why we are not making or considering such decision now,” the president said. “We have determined the format of Ukraine’s relations with the Customs Union – ‘3+1’. And we think that we should now sign a framework agreement and then fill it with substance.”

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said earlier he was hoping for progress in Ukraine’s accession to the Customs Union.

“We cannot say yet what kind of decisions we can make, but I hope that we will see noticeable and important steps, useful for all parties to this process,” he said.

“Government experts are working on the ‘3 + 1’ pattern proposed by our Ukrainian friends – three members of the Customs Union plus Ukraine,” Putin said after a telephone conversation with Yanukovich.

The Ukrainian president has created a working group on interaction with the Customs Union formed by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

He also appointed Foreign Minister Konstantin Grishchenko to be its head.

Yanukovich instructed the working group to “draft and submit, within two months, suggestions concerning a strategy of interaction between Ukraine and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in the ‘3 + 1’ format”, the presidential press service said earlier.

Participation in the Customs Union and ultimately in the Common Economic Space (CES) in the CIS will allow Ukraine to increase its trade turnover by nine billion U.S. dollars a year, Customs Union Commission Secretary Sergei Glazyev said earlier.

“We have been working with a common system of customs tariffs, sanitary and phytosanitary control for the second year. During this time we have seen interregional cooperation doubled. Overall trade turnover of the Customs Union has increased by more than one-third,” he said.

According to Glazyev, the next stage will be the creation of the Common Economic Space and a transition to a common market of capital, services and labour.

“Ukraine was at the start of the CES, and we hope very much for a resumption of Ukraine’s full-scale participation in these processes,” Glazyev said.

“We take President Yanukovich’s 3+1 formula as a resumption of Ukraine’s participation in the creation of the CES,” he said, referring to Yanukovich’s proposal to develop cooperation between his country and the Customs Union in the “3+1” format.

Azarov said that the signing a free trade zone agreement with the EU and a free trade zone agreement with the Customs Union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan are vitally important for Ukraine.

He stressed that cooperation with both the East and the West was important for Ukraine because trade turnover with Russia made up 30 percent and that with EU countries was also almost 30 percent.

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