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European Commission agrees to hold trilateral consultations on Ukraine's gas debt

The European Commission has agreed on President Putin's proposal to hold trilateral consultations on Ukraine's gas debt.

"The European Union agrees on your proposal for consultations with the Russian Federation and Ukraine with regard to security of gas supply and transit," Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, wrote in a letter to Putin released by the European Council's press service on Thursday.

Jose Manuel Barroso added that before taking any measures linked to Russian gas supply to Ukraine all the parties concerned should use a mechanism of early warning.

Barroso reminded of a similar mechanism that was coordinated by the EU and the Russian Federation after the 2009 gas war and which was modernized in 2011. Barroso pointed out in his letter to President Putin that in case of emergency this mechanism should be activated before taking any unilateral steps.

On April 10, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a letter devoted to the critical situation in Ukraine to the leaders of 18 European countries that buy gas from Russia. In his letter, Putin called their attention to problems related to Kiev's debt for Russian gas as well as possible consequences for gas transit to Europe. Putin expressed his concern with the critical situation unfolding in Ukraine and called on European gas consumers to look for joint ways to settle the crisis.

[Source: Itar Tass, Brussels, 17Apr14]

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