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Belarus urges common energy market with Russia, Kazakhstan

Jan 26, 2008 - BBC Monitoring

Belarus initiates the setting up of a common energy market involving at least the threesome of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Kabyakow told journalists in Moscow today.

"During the setting up of the common energy market we advocate the retention of market privileges between the parties to the customs union with the simultaneous development of the fully-fledged infrastructure of the energy market, which entails free competition," Kabyakow said.

"We are a country with an open economy and we are interested in equally competitive rights with our economic partners," Kabyakow said.

Speaking about possible practical measures to implement the Belarusian initiatives, Kabyakow said that the Belarusian government currently considers different options, including the restructuring of the domestic energy market to integrate some of its parts into market relations with partners in Russia and Kazakhstan.

"We are closely following the experience of our neighbours, including both positive and negative moments, we are studying the efficacy of measures they have taken,"

Kabyakow said. Kabyakow said that Belarus is cautious when it comes to the restructuring of its energy market. "This position is justified: we have no significant resources of raw materials, no huge gold or hard currency reserves and we cannot put our national welfare at risk. This is objectively shaping our tactics," Kabyakow said.

He also said that Belarus has started to work on a forecast of its socio-economic development for 2011-15, in connection with which it considers restructuring the energy market. "But we will take possible steps following economic calculations," Kabyakow stressed.

Source: Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian 1404 gmt 26 Jan 08

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