US Urges Compromise In Russia-Ukraine Gas Dispute

WASHINGTON, DC -- The government has urged Moscow and Kiev to reach a compromise in their dispute over the price of Russian natural gas exports, a State Department spokesman said.

State Department spokesman Adam Ereli

'We have been in touch with both countries to express the view that we urge them to come to a compromise that meets the needs of both, underscoring the importance of security of supply and stability of prices,' spokesman Adam Ereli said.

While emphasizing that the United States sees the issue as 'a bilateral matter between Russia and Ukraine,' Ereli added that the dispute 'is a question of energy supply that we and the Europeans are all following closely because it is significant and important.'

Talks in Moscow between senior Russian and Ukrainian negotiators ended with no deal Thursday, but will resume Friday just hours ahead of a deadline for cutting off supplies to Kiev, Russian news agencies reported.

Russia has threatened to cut off gas shipments to Ukraine on January 1 if Kiev refuses to accept a quadrupling of the price.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko was quoted by Interfax news agency late Thursday as offering a much lower price increase of only 50 to 60 pct.

Western Europe is observing the crisis nervously as around a fifth of European gas supplies come from Russia via Ukraine and there are fears the row could disrupt shipments.

Source: AFX News

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