Wednesday, January 21, 2009

President makes comments on gas deal with Russia

At his joint press conference with President Lukashenko, which took place in Chernihiv today, President Yushchenko informed the media that on January 23 he would gather a meeting of National Security and Defense Council dedicated to settling gas crisis and steps that were taken in that direction by Ukraine.

“I would like we got over this situation”, - said Victor Yushchenko adding that it would be a special NSDC meeting, at which conclusions would be made on many questions.

Speaking about the overall situation with Russian gas supplies to Ukraine and Europe President Yushchenko emphasized that both Ukraine and Russia should draw certain conclusions out of the dispute. “Unfortunately gas issue is political”, - he added.

He stressed that Ukraine did not ever feel guilty of disruption of gas supplies to European customers and that it doesn’t feel that now.

As to aims, certain parties pursued by aggravating the situation in his opinion, President named “provoking European pressure upon Ukraine, which allegedly violated its obligations as transit country” and “attracting Europeans’ attention to bankrupt roundabout gas transit lines”. “Between the lines was hidden desire to destroy the most powerful gas transport system including its status, ownership and attitude of the state towards it”, - he added.

Victor Yushchenko emphasized that supplies of Russian gas to Europe in contracted volumes through Ukraine would be restored in 36 hours. “But I am certain that Ukrainian nation will not forget this gas war”, - he said.

Making comments on gas supply deal between Ukraine and Russia, President Yushchenko stressed opinion that 360 dollars price, set by Gazprom in the first quarter of 2009 would apparently force Ukraine to search for new approaches to making private and industrial sector functioning properly, providing people with jobs and paying them wages, etc. “Talks with Russia have never been easy, neither in psychological, nor in political sense. I am not the one who would call agreements that were reached as partner-like. I am sure that among partners of such kind agreements should be more decent, balanced and fair”, - he said.

According to Victor Yushchenko there are certain questions regarding gas trade deal with Russia he is concerned about as the President. First of all the transition to market gas prices should have been gradual in order to give dozens of facilities an opportunity to adapt to the new conditions. Beside that a principle of synchronism should have been observed meaning that gas prices and transit fees were to grow simultaneously.

In general our Government has reached a very complicated agreement… We should draw many conclusions … because the prices force the authorities to radically revise relations with all the consumers. That is why I shall gather the NSDC meeting on Friday so we can look through the signed documents in detail, evaluate their accordance with national security and national interests and to make honest conclusions on what had happened”, - said President Yushchenko.