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Ukrainian premier: Geneva talks only acceptable format for conflict resolution

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arsenyi Yatsenyuk said on Friday the Ukrainian conflict resolution could be discussed only within the Geneva format.

Commenting on a tripartite meeting in the Ukraine-EU-Eurasian troika format to be held in Minsk on August 26, Yatsenyuk said: "There is only one acceptable format which comprises the United States, the European Union, Ukraine, and Russia."

But "in order to prepare this format it is necessary to use up other possibilities first," he said and stressed that "the war must be stopped."

Speaking about the ratification of the Association Agreement with the EU, he said, "All is ready for ratification. I'll stay in the parliament until the agreement gets the support of 226 votes."

On Ukraine's gas needs, Yatsenyuk said the country "won't be able to live without Russian gas." "We will need to buy about five billion cubic metres of gas," he said, adding, "The total reverse-flow gas supply should reach one billion cubic metres."

"When we started off, there were five billion cubic metres of gas in the storage facilities. That's practically nothing. Now we have 15 billion cubic metres of gas stored," Yatsenyuk said.

He said the government had reserved $3.1 billion for buying gas and "did its best to meet the country's minimum needs".

Yatsenyuk declared that Ukraine had managed to reduce gas consumption by 30%

Kiev is planning to upgrade the gas transportation system in cooperation with U.S. and European partners. "Our purpose is to overhaul the gas transportation system and engage EU and U.S. investors. They are showing interest in Russian gas transit via Ukraine. This can make the construction of the South Stream pipeline unnecessary," Yatsenyuk said.

Ukraine has no gas transit contracts with European partners and "all gas is supplied under the Russian-European contract", Yatsenyuk said, adding, "We asked Europe to sign a new agreement, for we are friends after all," he said.

[Source: Itar Tass, Kiev, 22Aug14]

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