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The last-minute agreement signed between Gazprom and Belarus on 31 December 2006 on the supply of Russian gas to the former Soviet Republic has been met with satisfaction in Europe. At the request of Commissioner Piebalgs, the gas co-ordination group (consisting of energy experts from the different member states chaired by the European Commission) met in Brussels on 4 January to assess the situation on the basis of a presentation of the agreement by Vladimir Senko, the Belarussian Ambassador to the EU, who was invited to attend the meeting.

'The group stressed the importance of a stable and multi-annual agreement to guarantee the transit of gas via Belarus,' indicated the Commission, not wishing to comment on the content of the agreement (the price of gas). 'The matter is purely bilateral,' added a spokesperson.

The dispute between Moscow and Minsk at the end of 2006 could have led to disruptions in the EU gas supply, particularly in Germany...

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