Moscow to hold summit on gas row Saturday: Kremlin

January 15th, 2009 - 9:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Jan 15 (RIA Novosti) A summit to discuss the gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine, which has resulted in a huge gas shortages in Europe, will be held here Saturday, a Kremlin official said Thursday. “Invitations to heads of state and governments of consumer and transit countries are being sent through diplomatic channels,” the press secretary of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Natalya Timakova, said.

European Union (EU) Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and Czech Energy Minister Martin Riman, whose country holds the EU presidency, are expected take part in the summit, Johannes Laitenberger, a EU spokesman, said Thursday.

Laitenberger said Piebalgs and Riman were ready to help Moscow and Kiev find a long-term solution to the stoppage in gas transits to Europe.

He also urged both the nations to resume gas supplies to Europe as soon as possible.

Russian energy giant Gazprom complained earlier Thursday that it had received a third refusal from its Ukrainian partner Naftogaz to transit Russian gas on to Europe over the lack of a technical gas transfer agreement for 2009.

Gazprom wanted to pump 99.2 million cubic metre of gas Thursday, including 13.9 million cubic metre of gas for Moldova, 63.1 million for the Balkans and 22.2 million for Slovakia.

Russia insists its gas exit points have been opened for three days now with gas pressure along the export pipeline sufficient to allow for the immediate resumption of gas transits to Europe.

But Ukraine said the gas supplied was not sufficient to transit to Europe via its pipeline.

Earlier, both Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko demanded the gas summit to be held in a neutral country.

“Ukraine’s president has confirmed his readiness to attend such a summit provided it takes place in a European country,” Ukraine’s presidential press service said.

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