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Published: 13 september 2012 17:09

Lithuanian Energy Minister: Talks with Gazprom became political

ITAR-TASS/„Scanpix“ nuotr. / „Gazprom“

Negotiations with Russia's Gazprom over lower natural gas prices for Lithuania are no longer commercial but political, Energy Minister Arvydas Sekmokas says.

"The Russian president has demonstrated that Gazprom cannot work in a competitive legal environment. Gazprom has suffered a complete defeat both in Lithuania and in its dispute with the European Commission, and the Russian president has demonstrated this very clearly by taking Gazprom's rights into his hands," the minister told LRT Television.

This is no longer an economic issue. In fact, this becomes a political tool, and there is no talk about commercial negotiations any more. Negotiations become political and the respective demands are made in exchange for [a lower] gas price," he said.

According to LRT, Russia's response to the launch of the European Commission's antitrust probe into Gazprom's suspected anti-competitive practices is an additional protection for the gas supply monopolist.

President Vladimir Putin's decree means that from now on, Lithuania or other European countries will have to hold talks with the Russian government to secure lower gas prices and that the European Commission will have to go to the authorities for information it needs in its investigation into whether the gas giant abused its dominant market position.

Lithuanian officials are not surprised at Putin's move, saying that this shows once again who takes decisions on gas supply in Russia.

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