Key Ukraine meeting on Russia gas deal postponed

Yushchenko denounces the deal as a "defeat", citing steep price increases in the first quarter with no rise in transit fees for Ukraine to offset them.

Key Ukraine meeting on Russia gas deal postponed
A meeting of top Ukrainian leaders to discuss the deal clinched with Moscow to restore gas flows to Russia has been postponed from Friday, President Viktor Yushchenko's office said.

A spokeswoman quoted by Interfax Ukraine news agency said the president's chief economic aide, Oleksander Shlapak, would outline reasons later for the postponement of the sitting of the National Security and Defence Council.

The deal clinched by Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko after two negotiating sessions in Moscow has aggravated divisions within Ukraine's leadership.

Tymoshenko says the deal provides the best possible conditions for Ukraine -- a 20 percent discount on European prices and the elimination of intermediaries in the gas trade.

She says neither the president, her ally from the 2004 "Orange Revolution" now turned adversary, nor the Council has any legal mechanism to overturn the deal. The Council is made up of the country's top figures, including the president, prime minister and senior security officials.

Yushchenko denounces the deal as a "defeat", citing steep price increases in the first quarter with no rise in transit fees for Ukraine to offset them.

Reuters
Last Mod: 24 Ocak 2009, 11:51
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