Russia, Belarus to settle gas dispute in 10 days: Putin

Indo Asian News Service

St. Petersburg, April 4 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed confidence that his country and Belarus will settle their ongoing gas and oil disputes in 10 days.

After meeting visiting Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko here on Monday, Putin said Moscow and Minsk have agreed to find an acceptable pricing scheme for both sides, and all the disputes in oil and gas sector between the two will be settled in 10 days.

Both countries will also develop rules for the common gas market by January 1, 2018, TASS news agency quoted Putin as saying.

Russia and Belarus have no issues of dispute left, Putin said. The disputes between both countries lasted for over a year.

"We were able to look into the future of our economies' functioning. We solved these matters. I think our governments will formalise everything and bring our economies into the normal functioning rhythm within ten days," Lukashenko said.

Belarus and Russia have been negotiating a reduction in gas prices since early 2016.

Minsk insisted on lowering the price of Russian natural gas from $132 to $73 per 1,000 cubic metres and demanded that Moscow switch to equal netback pricing.

In reply, Russia decided in the third quarter of 2016 to reduce the supply of tax-free oil to Belarus.