Belarus may tell Russia it will recognise Georgia's rebel regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent nations in return for moderate prices for Russian gas supplies in 2009, a Russian newspaper reported on Monday.
The Kommersant business daily said before talks between the Russian and Belarussian presidents that Minsk could offer to sell Russia a stake in its state gas transit firm Beltransgaz to to secure a deal over the gas price and obtain a rouble loan from Moscow to help Belarus weather the global financial crisis.
Russia drew international condemnation when it recognised Georgia's separatist regions as independent nations after its brief war with Georgia in August following Tbilisi's attempt to retake South Ossetia by force.
Lukashenko has stopped short of recognising the regions' independence, saying parliament would examine the issue. Parliament has taken no action.
"The president of Belarus indeed has something to offer his Russian counterpart both in political and economic aspects," Kommersant quoted unnamed sources as saying before talks scheduled on Monday between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko.
"Alexander Lukashenko said in early autumn that this would be done by a newly elected Belarussian parliament...But two and a half months after the parliamentary elections (in Belarus), he has not yet made good on the promise."
Belarussian officials had said they were counting on a price of $160 per 1,000 cubic metres of Russian natural gas in 2009 compared with the current rate of $128. Russian officials have suggested the price will be no less than $200.
Ethnically close and deeply integrated economically, Russia and Belarus have agreed to create a "union state", but the plan has made little progress.
Last Mod: 22 Aralık 2008, 14:54